Five new cases of Covid-19, three in community – Bloomfield

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Five new cases of Covid-19 have been identified, including three in the community and two in managed isolation, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says.

Watch the briefing:

Dr Bloomfield has provided today’s official update on Covid-19, with Minister of Health Chris Hipkins.

He says the three community cases are all epidemiologically linked to the Mt Roskill Evangelical church, which has been genomically linked to the Auckland cluster.

All of these cases were identified as close contacts and were already in self-isolation, he says.

The two imported cases were detected at the managed isolation facility at the Rydges Hotel in Rotorua via routine testing around day three. The first case is a woman in her 30s who arrived from Dubai on 28 August and the second is a child who arrived from Uzbekistan via Dubai the same day. Both cases have been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility with other members of their bubble.

There are seven people with Covid-19 in hospital – five in wards and two in intensive care, Dr Bloomfield says. One is in Middlemore and another in Waikato.

Dr Bloomfield says since 11 August the contact tracing team has identified 3192 close contacts of cases and of these, as at 10am this morning, 2992 have been contacted and are self-isolating. The ministry is in the process of contacting the rest.

There are 104 people linked to the community cluster who have been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility which includes 75 people who have tested positive for Covid-19, and household contacts.

He says the number is coming down because some of the first cases have now been considered as recovered and are back at home.

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Eight previously reported cases are now considered recovered, they are all community cases, Dr Bloomfield says. The total number of active cases is 129 and of these 35 are imported cases identified in managed isolation, and 94 are community-based cases.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 1406. There were 10,943 Covid-19 tests were processed yesterday, bringing the total to 777,560.

On the source of Auckland’s current outbreak, Hipkins says they still don’t know where it came from.

“No links have been established that link it back to MIQ.”

“It’s a puzzle, we may never know how it made it to the community.”

Dr Bloomfield has apologised for an error over the weekend that meant a wrong message was posted by the Government’s Covid-response unit, saying all South and West Aucklanders should be tested, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

He says a process has been put in place to ensure there are no more wrong messages going out, and thanked Aucklanders for their work over the last three weeks to help support the response to the outbreak.

Hipkins says a purpose-made booklet for contact tracing will be distributed to parts of the community next week, or can be ordered online, for those who do not have a smart phone.

Targets set for Covid-19 testing of 10,000 tests per day – 70,000 over seven days – with about two-thirds of those in Auckland have “more or less been hit,” he says.

Tests per day:

  • 26 Aug: 9257
  • 27 Aug: 11,010
  • 28 Aug: 9991
  • 29 Aug: 10,487
  • 30 Aug: 7219
  • 31 Aug: 8599
  • 1 Sep: 10,943
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Hipkins says testing will continue at the airports, ports and isolation facilities.

He says no decisions have been made on changes to alert levels yet.

Dr Bloomfield says anyone in New Zealand who has symptoms – not just in Auckland – should get tested. He says some there has also been some surveillance testing of unsymptomatic people across the country.

He says there has been an increase in scans of QR codes, with more than 2 million scans yesterday compared to about 1.5 million the same time last week.

Hipkins says the resignation of seven executives on the Canterbury DHB is something the government is looking into.

“There’s clearly some very strange relationships down there at the moment, that’s something I’m very conscious of, something we’re trying to support the resolution of.”

He says there are some serious financial issues there that need to be addressed.

“There are some changes that need to come for Canterbury, clearly they can’t keep running the sorts of deficits that they are.”

Dr Bloomfield says he went down last Thursday and met with the board to talk to those who are leaving.

Dr Bloomfield and Hipkins spoke at the Health Select Committee today after an invite from the chair to answer questions regarding the government’s response to the pandemic.

Yesterday, there were 14 new cases of Covid-19, five of which were in the community.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP – don’t show up at a medical centre
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