Ministry of Health update
From Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield
As at Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Today (Wednesday) New Zealand’s total number of Covid-19 cases has increased by 6 – these are all confirmed cases. All of these are linked to existing clusters or overseas travel.
The new combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 1451.
Sadly, today we are reporting the death of a woman in her 80s who was one of the residents of Rosewood rest home who was transferred to Burwood Hospital. The woman had underlying health conditions.
Due to the vulnerabilities of people in this group, some have not been tested for Covid-19 and instead have been managed as probable cases. The woman who died yesterday was considered to be a probable case of Covid-19, who had not been tested for the virus but was treated as a confirmed case based on her exposure history and clinical symptoms.
There are now 1036 people reported as having recovered from Covid-19 – an increase of 30 on yesterday (Tuesday), meaning there are now 401 active cases in New Zealand.
Today there are 11 people in hospital with Covid-19. The total includes two people in ICU – in Middlemore and Dunedin hospitals. They are both reported as being in a stable condition.
There are still 16 significant clusters. Five more cases of Covid-19 have been connected to clusters. There are still eight clusters that have not had a new case reported in the last seven days.
Laboratories have processed a record number of tests for a single day, with 5289 Covid-19 tests completed yesterday. That brings the total number tested to date to 94,797. The seven-day rolling average is 4043, with a testing capacity of 8105.
The Ministry is developing a visitor policy for District Health Boards under alert level 3. That is being worked through with DHBs today and we expect to have an agreed approach in the next few days.
Testing in our communities continues with a particular focus on ensuring we reach Maori and Pacific communities.
Northland DHB is increasing Covid-19 testing across the region in partnership with Maori Health Providers, which will provide mobile services reaching into the smaller communities they currently visit. The mobile services will offer a clinic to ensure Maori have access to Covid-19 testing for those who want to be tested, general health and wellbeing checks, and influenza vaccinations. Mobile clinics will be available in the Far North, Kaitaia, Hokianga, Kaikohe, Kawakawa, Moerewa, Kaipara, and Kaeo. The DHB is also providing a drive-through clinic in Kerikeri and Whangarei.
This week Taranaki DHB is continuing with community testing of people with symptoms of COVID-19 and encouraging anyone with symptoms to get tested. They are also working with the Maori provider network to help set up and deliver a range of outreach options that will take testing closer to homes and where necessary into the homes of Mâori throughout rural Taranaki. Ngaruahine, Ngati Ruanui and Tui Ora Maori Health providers are leading community-based mobile outreach clinics in North and South Taranaki, with support from TDHB.
There will continue to be significant testing of selected groups this week, especially for healthcare workers and essential workers.
Community based assessment centres (CBACs) are for testing people with symptoms of Covid-19. People do not need a test to go back to work.
The Section 70(1)(m) order required non-essential workplaces to be closed.
The Director-General of Health has extended the existing Section 70 notices before they expire, and these are available on the Ministry of Health website. Businesses will be able to do work ahead of the move to Alert Level 3 to prepare their workplaces.
The amended order allows work such as cleaning, making changes to their workplace to meet physical distancing requirements, acquire stock – all the necessary work businesses may need to carry out ahead of the move to Alert Level 3.