Ministry of Health Covid-19 update
From Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the Director General of Health
April 12, 2020
Today there are 18 new cases of Covid-19 to report, made up of 14 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 4 new probable cases.
There are no additional deaths to report so the total remains four deaths.
There are now 471 reported cases of Covid-19 we can confirm have recovered – an increase of 49 on yesterday. We continue to report more people recovered than new cases.
The combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 1330.
Today there are 14 people in hospital, not inclusive of the Rosewood Rest Home residents currently at Burwood Hospital. There are further details on this below.
The total includes five people in ICU – one each in Wellington, Middlemore, Wairau in Blenheim, Dunedin and North Shore hospitals. One of these ICU patients – in Dunedin – remains in a critical condition.
For those cases we have information on, 47 per cent involve contact with a confirmed case within New Zealand including those in known clusters, 40 per cent have a link with overseas travel and community transmission accounts for 2 per cent. We are still investigating 11 per cent of cases, down from 18 per cent a week ago
A total of 2421 tests were processed yesterday, with a rolling seven-day average of 3523 and total tests to date of 61,167.
Aged residential rare
New Zealand currently has three significant Covid-19 clusters in aged residential care facilities – two in Christchurch and one in Waikato.
As we know from international reports and from our own sad deaths over recent days, this group is particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 and we are continuing to prioritise action around this sector.
The Ministry and DHBs have worked closely with the Aged Residential Care Association since early in the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yesterday, the Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield wrote to district health boards asking them to systematically assess the readiness of Aged Residential Care providers in their area, and provide support and assistance as necessary.
DHBs will look at each facility’s plans and procedures to reduce risk to staff and residents, including assessing PPE stocks and ensuring there is a good process for resupply
The Ministry of Health has also provided guidance to the sector on managing staff and residents with potential Covid-19 infections. Key points are:
· It’s critical that staff who are unwell, even with mild symptoms, do not come to work.
· Staff who are close contacts of confirmed or probable cases should not be at work.
· All residents with suspected, probable or confirmed Covid-19 infection should be isolated immediately.
· There are clear messages to all facilities around infection prevention and control.
The Ministry continues to have a considerable focus on the 13 current clusters, and recognises significant public interest in the management of them.
We can clarify information the Ministry provided yesterday about an Auckland cluster, which it identified as Spectrum Care.
We are aware there has been some concern from people who receive services from Spectrum Care and want to reassure them there is no need for concern.
The cluster currently has 29* confirmed or probable cases. As mentioned on Saturday, these originated in the community and subsequently led to infection of a person linked to Spectrum Care.
This is a community cluster where a small number of the confirmed cases (in this instance five) worked at Spectrum Care. All other positive results attributed as part of this cluster are cases in the community (including household and other close contacts).
Spectrum Care have followed all appropriate actions including self-isolating staff while they recover.
* (updated since media briefing today)
The group of Rosewood residents were transferred to Burwood Hospital from a high level psychogeriatric (or dementia) unit.
The care they are receiving is consistent with the high level of psychogeriatric care they would have been provided at the facility and includes, where appropriate, end of life/palliative care.
It is true that they are being cared for by DHB nurses and health care assistants, but as would occur in a psychogeriatric unit, medical oversight at Burwood is from a GP.
Seeking timely care for all healthcare needs
It’s important that people do not neglect potentially serious health conditions because of concerns around Covid-19.
As an example, we are aware that emergency department presentations at Wellington Regional Hospital during the lockdown have dropped to an average 95 per day. For the same period last year, this was around 190 per day.
“Please – follow the usual mechanisms for help – contact your GP or call for an ambulance in an emergency,” says Dr Bloomfield.
Health services continue to have capacity to provide advice. Healthline’s normal line is 0800 611 116.
“Don’t leave it to long to seek help. If you need medical attention for any health concern please seek help promptly.”