5 new cases of Covid-19; 5 linked to church test positive

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Ministry of Health Covid-19 update
August 26, 2020

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

Two are new imported cases.

There are three community cases, two are contacts of cases known to be part of the outbreak. One of these is under investigation.

An additional case reported yesterday as a household contact is now under investigation. Genome sequencing is underway.

These cases bring our total number of confirmed cases to 1344 which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 134, of which 21 are imported cases from managed isolation facilities.

The imported cases include a female in her 50s who arrived in New Zealand on August 13 and a male in his 30s who arrived on August 21. Further information on these cases will be provided as it comes to hand. Both are being transferred to a quarantine facility.

By this morning our contact tracing team had identified 2422 close contacts of cases, of which 2368 have been contacted and are self-isolating and we are in the process of contacting the rest.

There is one area of interest that we are mentioning today.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service can confirm that five people associated with the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship church have been diagnosed with Covid-19.

We would ask that anyone who attended the following events get tested as soon as possible:
·        Services held at the church in Stoddard Road on August 8, 9 or 11.
·        A wedding held at the church on Friday August 7.

Anyone who attended these events and who is currently unwell, or has experienced any signs of Covid-19 in the past two weeks, should contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 and let them know that you attended one of these events. They will provide further advice.

There are 163 people linked to the cluster who have been moved into the Auckland quarantine facility. This includes 90 people who have tested positive for Covid-19 and their household contacts.

There are nine people receiving hospital-level care for Covid-19 and all of these are part of the Auckland community outbreak.

An additional person connected to the community outbreak remains in Waikato Hospital hospitalised but not as a direct result of Covid-19.

There are two patients in Auckland City Hospital. Both are stable and in isolation on a ward.

There are three patients in North Shore Hospital. Two are stable in isolation on a ward; one is stable in ICU.

There are four patients with Covid-19 in Middlemore Hospital. Two are stable and each of them is in isolation on a ward.  Two are in ICU and are critical.

Hospitals in Auckland continue to manage Covid-19 patients using appropriate infection prevention and control; our hospitals remain safe for patients, visitors and staff.

Testing
Laboratories completed 8559 tests yesterday, bringing our total tests to date to 710,063

The Auckland regional DHBs are increasing their mobile and pop-up testing sites again and we really encourage people to go along.

Today and tomorrow there are pop-up testing sites at Ranui Library carpark; Randwick Park School; Taka He Monu (Tongan Methodist Church) and Mt Smart Stadium.

The pop-up sites complement other CTCs across the Auckland region and will move to other communities every 2-3 days.

There will be some community testing of asymptomatic people in specific communities and DHBs are ensuring testing is readily available there.

This testing forms part of our surveillance programme to help ensure we have identified the full extent of the current outbreak.

People can also get testing at their GPs. This is the same around the whole country.

People who have symptoms of Covid-19, or who are concerned about potential exposure, should continue to seek advice from their GP or Healthline on getting a test.

Covid Tracer
The number of people registered is now 1,834,800, which is over 45.2 per cent of the population 15 years and over.

We have been really encouraged to see the uptake of the app – it is great that New Zealanders are clearly aware of the importance of keeping a record of their movements. These recent cases have shown us that the ability to be able to quickly trace and isolate contacts of cases is key to stamping out this virus.

There have been an average of 1.4 million scans every day for the past 7 days.

The number of QR codes being created has reduced significantly over the last three days, indicating that almost all New Zealand businesses now have their QR codes in place.

NZ Defence authorisation
The Director-General of Health has authorised some of the functions and powers of enforcement officers to members of the New Zealand Armed Forces.

This authorisation applies only to those Defence personnel supporting Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facilities.

The Director-General has already authorised three classes of persons as enforcement officers under section 18 of the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act 2020. Those classes of people are: WorkSafe inspectors; Aviation Security officers; and Customs officers.