There are three new cases of Covid-19 in the country, and it has also come to light that the family who recently tested positive to the virus had recently travelled to Taupō and met with 18 others from five regions around the country.
In a statement, the ministry said all three cases were of returnees in managed isolation facilities. There are no new community cases.
Two are in quarantine in Auckland; the third case is in quarantine in Rotorua.
One of the returnees came on a flight from the United States on 18 September; another from London via Dubai on 16 September, and the third from Croatia via Frankfurt and Dubai on 18 September.
This brings the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country to 1471.
There are 32 people in the Auckland quarantine facility from the community, including 15 people who have tested positive and their household contacts.
Three people are in hospital with Covid-19 – one each at Auckland City, Middlemore and North Shore hospitals. All three are in isolation on a general ward.
There are now 65 active cases; of those, 31 are imported cases in managed isolation and quarantine facilities, and 34 are community cases.
Family’s travel to Taupō and 31 close contacts identified
Yesterday was the first time six historical cases dating back to February were reported.
There were also three new community cases reported yesterday, all linked to the same family group of a person who tested positive last week after leaving managed isolation in Christchurch.
Two of those cases had been in managed isolation in Christchurch and returned home on the same chartered flight to Auckland with that case, while the third was a household contact.
There were 86 people on that flight. 70 have returned negative results, six were previously reported positive cases that do not require further testing; three are recently reported positive cases, seven are pending.
The ministry said public health services continued to contact trace, test and isolate close contacts of those three community cases from yesterday.
It said the family had been in self-isolation over the past four days and further interviews were done with them.
The family travelled to Taupō between 18 and 20 September, where they met up with 18 others who came from Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton. They are all considered close contacts.
Another 13 people have been identified as close contacts. The ministry said all 31 contacts had been or were in the process of being tested and all were isolating.
Public health services have been in contact with businesses where the family may have visited while infectious.
So far, they include:
- Christchurch domestic airport, 11 September, 10.30am-12.30pm
- Hot pools at DeBretts Spa Resort, Taupō, 18 September, 2.30pm-7pm
- Taupō Tandem Skydiving based at Taupō Airport, 19 September, 2pm-3.30pm
- Just Cuts, Westfield, St Lukes, Thursday 17 September, 4pm-5pm
The ministry said anyone visiting these places at these times should be vigilant of their health and get tested if they develop symptoms.
DeBretts Spa Resort told RNZ the facility remains open but deep cleaning will be happening tonight as a precaution.
They said the ministry of Health told staff and public were not deemed close contacts.
Taupō Tandem Skydiving Hamish Funnell said a deep clean was underway of the facility and gear, and the site would remain closed until they could be certain it was safe.
He said all staff that worked on 18 September were getting tested.
“One staff member is a close contact [and] won’t return to work until they have isolated for 14 days and have a negative test,” Funnell said.
“Everyone who is a casual contact is isolating ’til results come back.”
A Westfield St Lukes spokesperson said the Just Cuts store was temporarily closed.
There are now 2,259,500 users registered on NZ COVID Tracer.
The app has recorded a total of 72,694,242 poster scans, and users have created 3,238,450 manual diary entries in the app.
The ministry is advising businesses that they are still required to display the official NZ COVID Tracer QR codes across all alert levels.
Since August 11, the contact tracing team has identified 4044 close contacts of cases, of which 4025 have been contacted and are self-isolating or have completed self-isolation.
Yesterday, laboratories processed 6142 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 930,779.
Auckland is understood to have two groups of cases; one is the August cluster linked with Americold, and the other is the one connected to the returnee who tested positive for the virus after leaving managed isolation.