Ministry of Health Covid-19 update
From Director of public health Dr Caroline McElnay
May 8, 2020
Today we are reporting two new confirmed cases of Covid-19.
One of the new confirmed cases is linked to the St Margaret’s Hospital & Rest Home in Auckland.
This is a Waitemata District Health Board staff member who has been in self-isolation, and has now tested positive for Covid-19 and is being cared for at North Shore Hospital.
The nurse had been looking after St Margaret’s patients at Waitakere Hospital and was among close contacts of another positive case announced last week.
Affected areas at Waitakere Hospital remain closed to further admissions and multiple precautions have been in place over the last week.
One probable case already known to us has now been confirmed, reducing the overall number of probable cases by 1.
That brings New Zealand’s combined total of confirmed and probable Covid-19 cases to 1490.
That is made up of 1141 confirmed cases, which is the number we report to the World Health Organisation, and 349 probable cases.
We now have 1347 people reported as having recovered from Covid-19, which is 90 per cent of all confirmed and probable cases – an increase of 15 on yesterday.
Today there are three people in hospital with Covid-19 – one each in Auckland City, Middlemore and North Shore hospitals. None are in ICU.
We still have 16 significant clusters. There is one additional closed cluster, which is the cluster associated with the George Manning Rest Home in Christchurch. This brings the number of closed significant clusters to 4.
There are no additional deaths to report.
Yesterday our laboratories completed a record high number of 7812 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 175,835.
This equates to 3.5 per cent of the population and puts New Zealand in the top 20 countries per capita for testing.
I want to talk briefly about our testing system and how our strategy is working.
From the first Covid-19 test being completed in New Zealand by ESR on February 1, we now have the capacity to perform up to 12,535 tests per day.
Our laboratories, scientists and technicians adapted quickly to fight Covid-19 and testing remains an essential part of our elimination strategy as it is the starting point for identifying and containing the spread of the virus.
Throughout Level 3 and when we move into Level 2 and outside our bubbles, we need to maintain our focus on ensuring all those who have symptoms are tested, cases are isolated and any close contacts identified and quarantined.
DHBs are submitting updated plans to ensure we are continuing to
– quickly identify all new cases of the virus,
– make sure testing is accessible to all groups fairly,
– identify any undetected community spread in New Zealand, and
– monitor for Covid-19 in people at higher risk of exposure
Healthy for Life
We know there’s been a strong push on keeping older New Zealanders safe in their bubbles.
There is a series aimed at keeping older people healthier in their bubbles: ‘Healthy for Life’ is available on TVNZ on Demand.
The show has tips for staying safe, keeping brains active, healthy eating, social links and sleeping.
Healthy for Life was developed by a team from universities, DHBs, government agencies and NGOs such as Age Concern and led by Associate Professor John Parsons from the University of Auckland.
New Zealand remains at Alert Level 3, but we can prepare for Alert Level 2.
What you’re doing is working. Play it safe, no-one wants a second wave.
Keep working and learning from home.
Keep your distance from others when outside your bubble. Parties are still not on.
Remain local, travel only within your region.