Ministry of Health update
November 3, 2020
There are five new cases of Covid-19 to report today.
Four of these are at managed isolation facilities and one is the community case also related to managed isolation which we first reported on last night and which is being formally included in today’s total.
Of the four other cases we are reporting today, all are in quarantine at our Auckland facility:
· One case arrived on October 19 from Kabul via Dubai and has tested positive at around day 12.
· One case arrived on October 21 from London via Doha and Brisbane and has tested positive at around day 12.
· One case arrived on October 29 from the USA via Sydney and has tested positive at around day 3.
· One case arrived on October 29 from New York via Doha and Brisbane and has tested positive at around day 3.
A total of 11 cases are now considered recovered, meaning our total number of active cases is 75.
Our total number of confirmed cases is now 1612.
Yesterday our laboratories completed 2455 tests for Covid-19, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 1,106,568.
Managed isolation case in Christchurch
Last night the Ministry announced a new case in Christchurch, related to managed isolation and subsequently detected in the community.
The case is a member of the health team working at the Sudima Christchurch Airport managed isolation facility where the international mariners are in managed isolation and quarantine.
The individual was tested as part of the routine testing for staff in the facility and returned a negative test on Thursday October 29. On Saturday they developed symptoms and sought a further test on Sunday. A positive result was received yesterday.
The person is now in isolation.
This person has one household contact, a student at Cashmere High School, who has been tested once and has already returned a negative test. As a close contact, the student will also remain in isolation for 14 days and will be tested again at around days 5 and 12 as per standard close contact procedure.
Today, parents, caregivers and staff at Cashmere High School received a letter around this contact. As advised in the letter, students and staff do not need to be tested unless they have symptoms of Covid-19 and, as per routine guidance, they do not need to self-isolate.
Community & Public Health in Christchurch will be in touch with the school if there is any change to the situation. It is business as usual at the school today.
We have been asked why this person and their household contact are self-isolating at home following assessment by local medical officers of health.
The public health team are checking in with this person daily and the individual remains well with mild symptoms. The person can call health staff at any time if they have any concerns.
Other staff at the isolation facility who may have worked relevant shifts are also in the process of being contacted and tested as appropriate, if not already tested through routine testing.
Public health staff in Christchurch are continuing to work with staff at the Countdown on Colombo St where the person visited.
The supermarket has already undergone deep cleaning and video footage will continue to be reviewed to identify if there were any close contacts during the person’s visit. At this time, we consider this to be unlikely.
A push notification has also been sent to those people who logged on with the Covid Tracer app at the same time as this person visited the supermarket. This is an important reminder for us all to keep using the app.
Public health staff in Christchurch are reviewing any other locations the staff member may have visited. At this time, no other areas of concern have been identified which would require public notifications.
Anyone who is concerned about today’s news can seek further support from Healthline for advice about getting tested.
There is plenty of capacity for testing at Christchurch’s two CBAC testing centres and good support from local GPs. Demand for testing is being monitored and if it increases significantly, the DHB is ready to put in place additional clinics.
The positive test for this staff member also means that first of the international mariners, due to complete their managed isolation this morning, have had their stay extended for at least 24 hours as an additional precautionary measure.
Further genome sequencing of eight international mariners who have tested positive for Covid-19 has shown there are three different lineages found in this group.
When combined with the results from previous genome sequencing of 11 others in this group, we can see that none of these lineages had been seen in cases in New Zealand prior to their arrival and all are consistent with overseas infection.
There was one similar genome sequence found in an individual, also from Russia, who arrived in New Zealand on September 24, tested positive on and reported on September 27 (arrived on a flight from Germany).
Genome sequencing of the staff member working at the Christchurch managed isolation facility who tested positive yesterday is expected to be available later today.
Please remember that with our ongoing low number of cases in New Zealand, there tends to be very intense public interest in specific cases. It is important to bear in mind that the virus is the problem, and people are the solution. Please be respectful of privacy considerations for this case and their family.
NZ Covid Tracer
There are now 2,337,200 users registered on NZ Covid Tracer.
The Ministry has released a minor update to the NZ Covid Tracer app to make it easier for app users to find the nearest Covid-19 testing centre when needed.
Simply open the app dashboard and tap the ‘View resources’ button on the ‘More information’ tile. Then click the ‘Find a testing location’ link to bring up Healthpoint’s list of testing centres.
The app will update automatically over the next day or two for most users. Instructions on how to manually update the app can be found on the Ministry’s website.
The more we scan, the safer we’ll be. The faster we respond, the faster we stop NZ Covid Tracer-19.