Three taken to hospital with suspected coronavirus

Rotorua Hospital. File image/SunLive.

Members of a tour group have been assessed for novel coronavirus infection at Rotorua Hospital.

Three members of a tour group of 19 were assessed at the hospital yesterday as public health services were alerted that they may have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus.

The tour group arrived in Auckland on Saturday evening from Australia and then travelled to Rotorua.

The three people with suspected coronavirus are from China, Rotorua Hospital has confirmed.

Public health services were concerned the people may have been exposed to the infection on a previous flight in to Sydney on January 20.

As part of a co-ordinated response by health agencies, the group were firstly assessed by St John paramedics, a statement from Lakes District Health Board says.

“Three people were then taken to Rotorua Hospital’s Emergency Department for further assessment. While they were found to have no symptoms that would indicate infection with the virus, a range of tests were taken for processing.”

Expert advice was obtained from the Ministry of Health and Infectious Disease specialists and the three patients were able to be discharged last night and re-join their tour group.

Toi Te Ora Public Health medical officer of health, Dr Neil de Wet says that public health services continue to follow up and monitor the group and are currently reviewing whether any further measures are necessary.

Symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough, and trouble breathing, and can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure.

"Local public health services have been working closely with the Ministry of Health to ensure appropriate protocols are followed and any risk to the public is managed appropriately."

Lakes DHB Chief Executive Nick Saville-Wood says DHB staff are aware of the need to be vigilant for signs and symptoms of people who may present to the emergency departments with flu-like symptoms.

He says DHB staff are working closely with Toi Te Ora Public Health to keep health professionals across the Lakes district informed of the risk.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in Japan, Taiwan, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, the US, and France.

There are four confirmed cases in Australia and more than 50 people have died from the virus, all in china where the disease originated.

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