Ministry of Health Covid-19 Update
From Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield
23 April 23, 2020
Today we have two new confirmed cases, and one new probable case of Covid-19 in New Zealand. However, there is no change to the total number of Covid-19 cases in New Zealand, which remains at 1451 – the same as yesterday.
The three cases we reported yesterday that had returned from Uruguay have been reclassified as under investigation. They are laboratory confirmed cases of Covid-19, but they were possibly already counted in Uruguay’s case total. They have been deducted from our total while this is confirmed, to prevent double counting of the cases by the World Health Organisation.
Our laboratories processed another new record number of tests yesterday, with 6480 tests completed. We have now processed 101,277 Covid-19 tests in total.
Of the three confirmed and probable cases we are reporting today, all are linked to existing cases. There are another 29 people who have today recovered from Covid-19, bringing the total number of people who have recovered to 1065.
Sadly, today we are reporting two further deaths. NZ’s death toll is now 16.
A patient has died who has been very unwell in the Intensive Care Unit in Dunedin hospital with Covid-19 since April 7. She was in her 60s and had underlying health conditions.
The second is the death of a resident of the Rosewood rest home in Christchurch. The man in his 70s passed away in the hospital-level wing of the Rosewood rest home yesterday – he was not part of the group that had been transferred to Burwood Hospital.
The man had an underlying condition, and while he had tested negative for Covid-19, he was considered a probable case based on his exposure history and clinical symptoms. These cases are treated as if they were a positive laboratory confirmed case and the actions taken are the same as for a confirmed case.
Alert Level 3
In advance of heading into Alert Level 3, today we are outlining the health and disability services that will be available next week.
Hospitals remain open for emergency care, and some planned care, including elective surgery and radiology, will be provided. More detail will follow.
General practices will be open, but appointments will still be conducted online or by phone where possible. People can still see a doctor or nurse face-to-face if required. It is important to still contact your health professional or Healthline as you normally would, regardless of what alert level New Zealand is in.
Community pharmacies remain open but medicine management services will be provided over the phone where possible.
Dental services may provide face-to-face appointments for urgent or emergency care. Routine dental care will not be provided in Alert Level 3.
Community midwives will provide services in a variety of ways, including face-to-face and on-line appointments.
Appointments for services such as physiotherapy, podiatry and optometry will continue to be mainly online or over the phone. Some face-to-face appointments for those services may be provided for urgent appointments only, so long as professionals can take the appropriate measures to manage public health risks.
Disability residential care will continue as usual.
Community mental health service appointments will be online or by phone where possible – there may be some face-to-face appointments. Urgent and crisis mental health services will continue as usual, as will inpatient and residential mental health and addiction services, although there may be fewer beds available. There is a range of welfare, mental health and wellbeing programmes underway to provide support to New Zealanders.