Covid-19 case in Blenheim flew from Rotorua

Emergency Response Marlborough turned up at Blenheim Testing Centre on Saturday before the first case was announced.Photo: Supplied/Marlborough Express

The Ministry of Health is today confirming a case of COVID-19 isolating in Blenheim, in the north east of the South Island.

It comes after the individual late last night returned a positive COVID-19 test result.


The individual flew from Rotorua and arrived in Blenheim on October 21. The individual sought a test upon arrival after developing a sore throat. The initial test, including a follow-up swab, returned a weak positive result.

The current public health assessment is that the risk appears low given the individual’s likely late stage of infection.

So far, initial case interviews have identified a small number of close contacts, who have been contacted and are currently isolating with tests arranged.

Interviews are also being undertaken to determine any locations of interest. People living in the Blenheim township are asked to monitor the Ministry of Health’s locations of interest page, which is regularly updated.

We are also asking Blenheim residents with symptoms – no matter how mild – to please get tested, even if they are vaccinated.

Investigations into the source of the infection are underway. However, initial case interviews suggest the case is linked to the Te Awamutu cluster.

Testing is available at:

Blenheim CBAC: Horton Park, off Redwood St - open 9am to 5.30pm on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday

Nelson CBAC: Saxton Field parking area, Suffolk Rd, Stoke - open 10am to 6pm on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday

Additional testing capacity in the area will be stood up, if needed, and details will be available on the Healthpoint website.

Meanwhile, those in Marlborough, Nelson, and Tasman are reminded to get vaccinated this weekend if they have not already. Vaccination clinic locations across the region are available on the Nelson Marlborough Health website.

So far, vaccination rates in the Marlborough region have remained steady with 90% of residents having received their first dose, and 78% fully immunised.

The Ministry is monitoring the situation and will provide further public health advice if, and when, required.

On Saturday morning the Ministry said an update on Covid-19 cases would be at 1pm.

It’s understood the public health response is being stepped up in Blenheim. An emergency response unit has arrived at Horton Park where a testing centre is located.

Mayor John Leggett said: "I have had a couple of people say to me that they believed that to be the case. I haven't heard it in an official sense though and not from the Ministry of Health."

Experts had warned it was only a matter of time before the infectious Delta variant of the virus, which has plagued the upper North Island, particularly Auckland, spread south.

The last community cases of Covid-19 in the South Island were two nurses who worked at the Sudima Christchurch Hotel, where hundreds of Russian mariners were isolating.

The pair, close contacts of one another, tested positive on November 2 and 3.

At 1pm on Friday, health officials said there were 129 new community cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand – 120 in Auckland and nine in Waikato.

They later confirmed two new cases had been identified in Northland.

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