Masses continue: parishioner with Covid-19 presented minimal risk


On Saturday The Catholic Bishop of Auckland, Bishop Patrick Dunn, confirmed he had been advised that a parishioner at St Mary’s Church in Papakura was diagnosed with the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Dunn said the 5 pm Vigil Mass at St Mary’s on Saturday and the 8.30 am and 10.30 am Masses on Sunday would go ahead as normal because the risk of transmission was regarded as low for persons without symptoms.

Parishioners would be given advice before they entered, and the choice of whether to attend.

“I am advised by health experts that the risk to others at that Mass of contracting Covid-19 is low,” Dunn said on Saturday.

“This is because the risk of Covid-19 being passed on by someone not showing symptoms is regarded as low.”

“The wellbeing of our parishioners is our first priority, which is why we started to contact them as soon as we became aware today that a parishioner had been diagnosed with Covid-19,” Bishop Dunn said on Saturday.

“Our best advice is that the chance of catching any illness in Mass is very low, especially if you heed the standard health advice to wash your hands, avoid close contact with anyone who is ill, and stay at home if you feel ill yourself.”

Measures taken

The parish contacted parishioners, especially those who attended the same Mass as the person.

A particular effort was made to ensure older parishioners and those whose health might not be the best were contacted.

The man is recovering

The man first started feeling unwell at the beginning of the week,  but has improved considerably now.

He says he was “back to normal” and that there is “nothing to worry about”.

“I’m 100 per cent, I’m back to normal,” he told Stuff.

His legs were sore enough to make standing difficult but said the symptoms disappeared quickly.

The Ministry of Health says hospital treatment has not been required.

He will recover at home in self-isolation and will be monitored daily by health services.

The man acted in an exemplary way

The man had returned recently from the United States, where there is local transmission of COVID-19.

It was more than 3 days after he arrived back home before he became unwell and the public health assessment is that no one else on the flight is considered to be a close contact.

His partner who travelled with him is well, and currently also in self-isolation.

Once he became unwell, the man did everything right.

When friends in the USA alerted him to their possible link to a COVID-19 case in the USA, on Wednesday he phoned ahead to the GP and told them of his travel history and his symptoms.

The man was then assessed in his car by his GP, with the GP wearing appropriate protective equipment, and a test swab taken.


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News category: New Zealand.

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