Three new cases in managed isolation – Bloomfield

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There are three new cases of Covid-19 in managed isolation since yesterday, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says.

Ashley Bloomfield

Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

There are no new cases in the community and none of the new cases were connected to the managed isolation facility at the Pullman Hotel.

Dr Bloomfield was speaking at the first of what Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said would be the first of a series of regular updates on Covid-19 vaccines.

Hipkins announced the government had formally approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for use in New Zealand.

Dr Bloomfield said the three new cases were all in managed isolation, and 10 previous cases had now recovered, bringing total active cases to 59 and total confirmed cases to 1968.

Labs processed 2845 tests yesterday, bringing the rolling seven-day average to 3750 tests.

Hipkins said ESR on the Pullman case came through and there were no traces of Covid-19 in the environmental testing. He said it could have been transmitted by droplets in the air which could have been temporary.

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Dr Bloomfield said the Ministry’s updates would from now on include a running total of historical, non-infectious cases that had been detected after people entered New Zealand.

“There is an increasing number of people becoming infected and recovering before travelling to New Zealand. Our testing may detect residual viral material in people’s systems, but it’s important to reiterate they are no longer considered to be infectious,” he said.

“As we’ve previously stated, an increase in historical cases is not unexpected.”

There had been 25 historical cases out of a total of 158 cases detected since 1 January. These historical cases have all been previously reported.

Hipkins also said the possibility of caravans being used as managed isolation facilities had been looked at, but there was a limited number of people available to work in MIQ facilities.

Watch today’s update:

Yesterday the Ministry of Health reported two new cases in managed isolation.

Neither of yesterday’s cases were connected to managed isolation at the Pullman Hotel.

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One of the new cases was in the same travel bubble as the case reported on Sunday who tested positive for Covid-19 while in hospital in Auckland for a non Covid-related condition.

As a close contact they had already moved to an Auckland quarantine facility.

The ministry said Auckland DHB had assured New Zealanders that the city’s hospitals have robust protocols in place to care for people with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 to protect other patients, visitors and staff.

Hospitals in Auckland were safe to visit, it said.

Meanwhile, one of the main managed isolation administration teams has been described as a “shambles” by a former employee who came from a temp agency and claimed she had minimal training.

The former MIQ worker told RNZ it was such a poorly organised and “toxic” work environment that a whole tranche of emergency allocation applications was accidentally left unanswered for weeks.

Yesterday, MIQ nurses insisted they were sometimes working around the clock, despite Hipkins saying there was no evidence of that.

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