Ministry of Health Covid-19 update
October 21, 2020
There are 25 new cases of Covid-19 to report in New Zealand today – 23 of these are imported cases caught at the border. Two are cases linked to the port worker reported on Sunday, who are workplace contacts.
The first case we are reporting today was previously considered a casual contact of the port worker reported on Sunday. The person had a very short exposure on Friday to the case announced on Sunday and they were tested on Sunday with a negative result. The new case today became symptomatic yesterday and was tested and returned a positive result. Their household contact is now also being tested.
The second case has come into our database after 9am and will therefore be reflected in tomorrow’s official numbers, but we are reporting it today because of the significant public interest.
This person is the previously reported workplace close contact of the port worker reported on Sunday. They have been in the Auckland quarantine facility since Sunday October 18 and have previously been swabbed five times for Covid-19 as part of routine port surveillance testing – including last Friday, when they returned a negative test result. They developed symptoms yesterday while at the quarantine facility, was swabbed again yesterday, and returned a positive result after 9am this morning. Their household contacts had already been tested with negative results and will now remain in self-isolation for the full 14-day period.
Detailed interviews and contact tracing are underway for these people, and we are taking a very precautionary approach to managing these cases.
Infection via the Sofrana Surville continues to be the most likely hypothesis but we are also revisiting this theory in light of these new cases.
The Sofrana Surville arrived in Brisbane yesterday and Australian authorities will undertake testing and will communicate the results from the 19 crew members to us when they are available.
Cases in Christchurch’s Sudima
Eighteen imported cases are in managed isolation at the Sudima in Christchurch. They arrived from Moscow via Singapore on a chartered flight on October 16.
In order to help manage any risks, the 235 people who arrived on this flight were all taken to the same facility, and the majority of them were sharing a room with another person.
Positive cases have been moved into the dedicated quarantine wing at the facility and all occupants of the hotel will be retested on day 6 of their stay.
All staff at this facility have also been tested over the last three days
Testing will also be made available to family members of staff from the managed isolation facility, and staff numbers are being increased at the site.
People working at the airport when these travellers arrived are being asked to be tested if they haven’t already been tested in the last two days, and the bus company will be testing its drivers.
Other imported cases
In addition, there are three unrelated imported cases who arrived from London via Singapore on October 16th and tested positive at routine day 3 testing in managed isolation in Christchurch.
A further two imported cases are people in MIQ in Auckland. The first person arrived on October 16 from Jordan via Dubai and Kuala Lumpur and tested positive at routine day 3 testing. The second person arrived on October 17 from Malaysia and also tested positive at routine day 3 testing.
In summary, we have a large number of cases today. Two are close contacts associated with our community case, and all appropriate precautions around this have been put in place.
The others are part of a well-established managed isolation and border management system that was set up to do exactly what it is doing – that’s finding and isolating imported cases at the border.
Two previously reported cases are now considered to have recovered, bringing our total number of active cases to 56.
Our total number of confirmed cases is now 1556.
Yesterday our laboratories completed 6,308 tests for Covid-19, bringing our total number of tests completed to date to 1,040,911.
It remains critically important that anyone who develops symptoms consistent with Covid-19 immediately seeks advice from their health care provider or Healthline.
Getting a test for Covid-19 quickly allows us to rapidly identify and isolate any cases of the virus and limits its ability to spread. Please remain vigilant and get a test if you have any symptoms.
NZ Covid Tracer
Please also keep a record of where you have been and who you have seen. For contact tracing to be most effective, we all need to remember where we were not just yesterday but two weeks ago or even longer. This is because by the time someone starts showing Covid-19 symptoms, they could have passed the virus on to others in the community.
The easiest way to keep track of where we’ve been is with the NZ Covid Tracer app. This helps contact tracing go faster whenever it’s needed so we can quickly break the chain of transmission and minimise the likelihood and extent of any further lockdowns.
There are now 2,311,700 users registered on NZ Covid Tracer.
The app has recorded a total of 95,433,191 poster scans, and users have created 3,985,810 manual diary entries.