3 new cases of Covid-19; 3 people in ICU

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Ministry of Health Covid-19 update

August 23, 2020

There are three new confirmed cases of Covid-19 to report in New Zealand today.

One case is epidemiologically linked to the cluster in Auckland as a household contact of a previously reported case.

Two are imported cases – one is a woman in her 20s who arrived in New Zealand on August 16 from Croatia via Switzerland and Hong Kong. She has been in MIQ at the Sudima in Rotorua and has been transferred to MIQ at Jet Park after testing positive for Covid-19 around day 3 of her stay.

The second case is a person in their 30s who has been in MIQ at the Grand Millennium in Auckland and tested positive around day 12 of their stay.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 114, of which 18 are imported cases from managed isolation facilities.

This morning our contact tracing team had identified 2308 close contacts of cases, of which 2219 have been contacted and are self-isolating, and we are in the process of contacting the rest.  

There are 151 people linked to the cluster who have been moved into the Auckland quarantine facility.

This includes 82 people who have tested positive for Covid-19 and their household contacts.

Our total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 is now 1324, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.

There are nine people with Covid-19 in hospital – two in Auckland City Hospital, four people in Middlemore, two people in North Shore Hospital and one person in Waikato Hospital.

Six people are stable on a ward, and three people in Middlemore are in ICU.

All of the cases who are in hospital are isolated and carefully managed separately from other patients.

The public can be confident that our DHBs are managing this effectively, as they did in the first outbreak of Covid-19 in New Zealand. We have heard reports of people who are reluctant to get an ambulance or go to hospital – hospitals continue to be safe places to receive medical care, and people should feel confident going to hospital to receive treatment.

Yesterday laboratories processed 7005 tests for Covid-19, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 692,481.

Laboratories are now processing tests within 24 hours of receiving them, although people should allow four days to be notified of their test results from when they were swabbed. Positive results are notified and followed up straight away. This is consistent with time-frames throughout most of the pandemic, and takes into account transport times, processing, checking and notification to GPs.

People who have symptoms of Covid-19 should continue to seek advice from their GP or Healthline on getting a test.

Auckland exemptions

Along with Alert Level restrictions, regional boundary restrictions are a method to help contain the possible spread of Covid-19 beyond an area that is experiencing community outbreak.

From 11.59pm on August 22, there have been two major changes to Auckland travel restrictions to make movement across the boundary more workable for businesses and service providers.

People can now transit through Auckland without stopping in order to travel for work. They must show evidence of the purpose of their travel and their departure point and destination, but an exemption is no longer required.

Existing class exemptions have also been added into the Covid-19 Public Health Response Order to make them more visible and clearer for people.

The Covid-19 website provides the most up-to-date list of travel exemption categories and evidence requirements.

The Ministry has received more than 10,300 applications for exemptions – more than 1500 applications have been approved and around 400 have been declined. Urgent applications, for example, to visit a dying family member, are prioritised and processed promptly.

People and businesses should check the information on the website to see whether they need to apply before doing so.

Patients who need to travel into Auckland for hospital appointments do not need an exemption – in order to move through the regional border they will just need to produce identification and an appointment letter or similar evidence.

Healthline

Healthline has reported a number of calls this weekend from elderly people who live alone seeking both medical advice and general advice around whether they could go out at all under Alert Level 3.

A reminder that today would be a good opportunity to call people you know that live alone and connect with them – check on your neighbours and other people who may appreciate a chat.

Kingswood Rest Home

The Kingswood Rest Home in Morrinsville has now officially been cleared of any possible cases of Covid-19. We sincerely thank the rest home staff, residents, and their families for their assistance in taking the appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of everyone.

NZ Covid Tracer

NZ Covid Tracer has now recorded 1,744,000 registered users, and there have been 310,707 QR posters created.

App users have scanned posters 14,432,239 times, and made 1,511,829 manual entries.