Ministry of Health Covid-19 update
August 20, 2020
There are five new confirmed cases of Covid-19 to report in the community today.
There are no new cases to report in managed isolation.
All five of the new cases are linked to previous cases in the cluster.
Of the five cases in the community – four are Auckland based. One case is connected to the two Tokoroa cases and is currently in Waikato Hospital.
There are six people receiving hospital-level care for Covid-19. One is in Auckland City Hospital, four in Middlemore, and one in Waikato Hospital. One of the cases in Middlemore is now in ICU. All are stable.
There are 133 people linked to the cluster who have been moved into the Auckland quarantine facility. This includes 65 people who have tested positive and their household contacts.
The five new confirmed cases to report today bring our total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 to 1304 which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.
The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 101.
Of the 80 cases in the community outbreak, 78 are linked to the cluster, and two cases remains under investigation.
The first is the maintenance worker from the Rydges facility. The second case, announced yesterday, was initially linked to the cluster. This has now been reclassified as under investigation with a link still to be established.
The latest information provided to the Ministry of Health is that this second case was at St Lukes Mall on the morning of Wednesday August 12. Anyone visiting St Lukes Mall at that time should be alert to symptoms and contact their GP or Healthline should they become symptomatic or have health concerns.
Further investigation by Auckland Regional Public Health has identified the maintenance worker at Rydges used a lift shortly after the case from the United States used it and this is currently a strong line of investigation.
The nurses mentioned yesterday by Air Commodore Webb have all returned negative tests.
Since August 11, 1996 close contacts have been identified and 1921 have been contacted and are now self-isolating.
We do remind people that if you don’t have any Covid-19 symptoms, you should not get a test unless you have been advised to do so by public health officials.
Over the last few weeks there has been a very high level of demand for testing from people without any symptoms, which has been placing our systems under unnecessary pressure.
If you do start to feel unwell, please call Healthline or your GP for advice, and they’ll let you know if you should get tested.
The number of tests completed yesterday was 18,091 bringing our total tests to date to 657,506.
An update of the environmental sampling at the Americold sites in Mt Wellington and Wiri. We expect a full report shortly. The results found no virus at the Wiri site.
ESR did find very low levels of the virus on gauze swabs from 4 of the 35 swabs taken at the Mt Wellington site in areas that were likely to be touch zones for Americold employees who have tested positive. No virus was found inside food
The detected levels found in the workplace environment and on the outside of packaging were too low to allow genomic sequencing so an analysis and comparison with other samples wasn’t possible.
This initial sampling appears to show that additional work here isn’t currently warranted and it does not appear that contamination of imported chilled material packaging is a likely source of infection.
The Ministry wishes to thank Americold here for their ongoing assistance with us, not only on this, but to the response in general.
Under the current Alert Level 3 restrictions there are strict criteria around who can enter and leave Auckland.
To date, the Ministry has received more than 7800 applications for exemptions. More than 1000 exemptions have been granted and 100 declined. We continue to process exemptions as fast as we can – we have increased the team capacity to manage the high volume coming in and appreciate people’s patience.
Exemptions have been granted for example where someone needs to access medical services, provide care for a vulnerable person, visit a dying relative or move house.
We are getting applications from people who do not need to apply. Please see the covid.govt.nz website for a list of industries that are exempt.
NZ Covid Tracer
NZ Covid Tracer has now recorded just over 1.6 million users – more than 978,500 have registered in the last nine days.
112,616 businesses now have their QR codes, an increase of 6142 in the past 24 hours.