Coronavirus Covid 19: infected sailors in Southland have been placed in community quarantine

The Mattina container ship at Bluff.

Two crew members of the container ship Mattina who have Covid-19 are in quarantine at a community guarded facility after being treated at Southland Hospital.

Another crew member, the captain, is in separate isolation at a Southland facility, but he had tested negative for Covid-19.

Southern DHB Medical Officer of Health Dr Susan Jack said a Covid-19 positive sailor treated in hospital this afternoon was quarantined in furnished accommodation.

He was in the same facility as a second sailor who was released from Southland hospital on Monday.

This meant there were no MS Mattina Covid-19 patients at Southland Hospital, Dr Jack said.

There was 24-hour security to ensure the quarantined sailors remained confined and isolated from the community.

There were five sailors from MS Mattina at MIQ in Christchurch and 13 sailors, all Covid-19 cases and recovering well, remained aboard the ship moored at Bluff.

Access to the vessel was tightly controlled and no one was allowed to board.

Southland health officials reassured the community that the ship’s sailors were being well managed and the situation was being tightly controlled.

All sailors on the ship continued to be in strict quarantine, and any movement of patients from the ship to hospital or quarantine was carefully planned, with appropriate PPE and procedures for infection, prevention and control.

Infection prevention and control staff were constantly monitoring the situation and medical staff caring for the sailors underwent regular Covid-19 tests in accordance with Ministry of Health requirements.

“I am aware of some anxiety in the community, but I can reassure people that we are taking every precaution to isolate the sailors until they are fully recovered.

“These precautions mean that there is no risk to the general public.

“During the transfer to the hospital, the sailors positive for Covid-19 did not enter the emergency room.


“They were assessed outside the building in an ambulance and then, if admission was required, they were transported directly to a hospital isolation room.

“It was well planned and coordinated in advance. They did not leave their individual isolation rooms until they were released.

“Careful planning and transport, using PPE and following infection prevention and control procedures, was also used when seafarers were offloaded to accommodation organized by DHB.

“These sailors are not traveling in the community and will remain in quarantine until they have fully recovered, as do all positive Covid-19 cases in New Zealand.

“We are handling this situation with extreme caution to ensure we keep our southern community safe.”

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