No new cases of Covid-19; active cases drops to 22

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Ministry of Health Covid-19 update
July 23, 2020

Today there are no new cases of Covid-19 to report in New Zealand.

It has now been 83 days since the last case of Covid-19 was acquired locally from an unknown source.

There are five new recovered cases today, which means the total number of active cases in New Zealand is 22.

There is no one in New Zealand receiving hospital-level care for Covid-19.

The total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 remains at 1205, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.

Yesterday our laboratories completed 2419 tests, just under 2000 of which were in the community.

That brings the total number of tests completed to date to 448,786.

“The Ministry continues to work closely with the sector on ways to ensure our testing rates maintain an adequate baseline level nationwide to give us an appropriate level of assurance that we will get an early indication if there are any cases in the community,” says Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

“Last night, we provided the sector with updated advice which confirmed the need to test all people with relevant symptoms.

“On Tuesday evening, we discussed with DHB CEs the importance of this testing and we have another regular meeting with them today. We are seeking their assistance in supporting testing in line with this country’s testing strategy.

“The Ministry’s Clinical Chief Advisor for Primary Care, Dr Juliet Rumball-Smith is meeting Primary Health Organisation (PHO) clinical leads today and  with PHO chief executives tomorrow to ensure they are up to speed on the strategy and have what they need to support testing.

“The country’s 30 PHOs represent practically all general practices around the country and are a key partner for helping ensure we are testing both enough people in primary care and the ones we do test help to give us sufficient assurance that our border controls continue to work as expected by keeping out Covid-19.

“I want to thank New Zealanders who have been tested and to reiterate again, that if you are offered a swab, then please take up that offer. Testing remains a crucial part of our overall response and we all have a part to play.”

Medical Colleges Survey
The Ministry is working closely with Dr Samantha Murton and the team at the Royal NZ College of GPs to hear directly from practices on what measures will bring testing numbers up and more generally about the Covid-19 surveillance approach.

A survey has now gone out to GPs which will help us understand what is happening around the number of swabs being taken.   More than 500 responses have been received already and there is a general theme around the number of people with Covid-19 symptoms refusing tests which is high.

Participants can also respond to a range of other questions including which DHB area they work within, whether they’re in a General Practice, Emergency Department, Urgent Care Facility or Rural Hospital and whether they have the capacity to carry out Covid testing within the practice.

They’re also asked how many patients they’ve referred for testing at a CBAC or for testing within the practice over the last week and about any who’ve declined, as well as whether they would be willing to be involved in a national surveillance programme.