Covid-19 coronavirus: Stewart Island weak positive result, Jacinda Ardern to reveal vaccine booking details

A person on Stewart Island has returned a weak positive Covid-19 test result.

Officials are now investigating whether it is an historic case or a false positive test result.

The Ministry of Health said a person with an “indeterminate test result” for Covid in Stewart Island was under investigation to determine whether they were infected or not.

A subsequent repeat test was negative. Their family members had also tested negative.

The results of serology testing were due later today to help provide more information.

“While the investigation is underway, as a precaution, a local childcare centre is being closed for the rest of the week,” the ministry said.

Possible local contacts had been asked to isolate until further information was available and a community testing station would open from 1pm today at the island’s Community Centre.

“Public Health staff have so far been unable to identify any likely source of infection and given the relative isolation of the community, health authorities currently believe that it is most likely that the person is not a case,” the ministry said.

“Given the isolated nature of the community the DHB is putting additional staff on the ground in Stewart Island today to provide testing, primarily for those in the community with symptoms and for anyone linked to the childcare centre.

“Any local residents seeking testing are expected to be able to be accommodated.”

PM to reveal Covid booking system

Meanwhile Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will shortly unveil how Kiwis will be able to book their Covid vaccinations through a national system ahead of the general public rollout.

Ardern will front a press conference at 12.30pm to explain who will be first in line to get a vaccine when the general public rollout begins from the end of July, and how people can navigate the system which had been trialled in certain regions.

Today’s announcement comes after multiple reports of issues with current booking systems, specifically in Auckland.

On Wednesday, the NZ Herald reported stories of people’s records being lost after their first vaccination, centres being booked out until August and people waiting up to eight weeks between their two doses.

Ryan (not his real name) told the Herald his 82-year-old father, who lived with a serious lung condition, was told mid-August was the earliest he could book at the Birkenhead centre, the closest site to his North Shore home.

When Ryan’s father asked whether he could get an earlier appointment at another centre, he was allegedly advised it was safer for him to wait, given his health.

It was in stark contrast to Ryan’s experience in Rotorua where he contacted his DHB and was vaccinated within four days.

A Northern Region Health Coordination Centre (NRHCC) spokesperson admitted it was possible some people in rollout priority groups 1-3 may be waiting until August for their jab.

However, the spokesperson noted four new community centres would open by the end of June in Albany, Tamaki, Pukekohe and Takanini, which would help.

“If people can be flexible on where they want to be vaccinated then they should be able to get earlier appointments.”

The NRHCC recently confirmed all Aucklanders aged 65 and over will receive a Covid vaccination invite by the end of the week.

More than 110,000 people aged 65+ in the Auckland region will have received an invitation by text or email by Friday, health officials announced today.

The invitations will be issued automatically via text message or email, so people will not need to do anything until they receive their invitation.

All remaining Group 3 invitations, including the 164,000 Aucklanders who have underlying health conditions, will be sent by mid-July.

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