COVID-19 cases now 708

 

01 April 2020
 

Today there are 47 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 14 new probable cases. There are no additional deaths to report.

There are now 82 reported cases which we can confirm have recovered. The combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 708, 61 more than yesterday.

These numbers continue to be encouraging but they do not yet signal a turn-around. 

Today we can report 16 people remain in hospital with COVID-19.  

As reported midnight 31 March, the following is the number of inpatients across all 20 DHBs: 

  • Tairawhiti/Gisbourne Hospital - 1 
  • Waikato Hospital - 1  
  • Canterbury - 1 
  • Auckland City Hospital - 1 
  • Hawkes Bay Hospital - 1 
  • Taranaki - 1 
  • Middlemore Hospital - 2 
  • Wairau Hospital, Blenheim - 1  
  • Nelson Hospital - 1  
  • Wellington City Hospital - 3
  • Palmerston North - 1 
  • Tauranga - 1
  • Dunedin - 1 

Two of the 16 in hospital are in ICU and are stable.

For those cases we have information on, we are still seeing a strong link to overseas travel (51%), as well as links to confirmed cases within New Zealand (30%) and community transmission (1%). 

We continue to focus on getting more information on community transmission.

Updated Case Definition 

The Technical Advisory Group met yesterday and are today issuing a new case definition. 

The Case Definition is a guide for health professionals on testing, but also continues to accommodate their clinical judgement in determining testing. 

The new case definition is now that anyone with respiratory symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should be considered for testing regardless of travel history or contact with a confirmed case. 

This will result in more testing being done which we are also prepared for. Testing capacity is currently 3,700 tests daily, and we are currently doing an average of 1843 tests per day based on the last seven days. 

We are increasing capacity to test – currently we have 8 laboratories and by the end of next week that will be ten, with laboratories in Auckland and Tauranga coming on stream and increasing our capacity to more than 4000 tests per day. 

Clusters 

We are continuing to actively investigate and contact trace a number of clusters. There is the potential within clusters for rapid spread – which is why we identify, test, isolate and investigate these. 

Cluster investigations happen at a local level through our DHBs and involve immediate contract tracing and sometimes more broad testing of those contacts and within the community to ensure we get good control, and we get better information about what is happening in that community. 

We continue to fine-tune how we report these clusters and we will be updating our website later today to reflect current known significant clusters. 

Our contact tracing continues apace.  Yesterday we were in contact with 418 close contacts to give them advice and information of the need for strict, monitored self-isolation for 14 days.  

Lastly, we are seeking physical distancing not social distancing so it is important that we all keep in contact by phone or through the various options we now have for communicating online.  

It is important that we again remind people to be considerate to each other, and their neighbours and to be kind.  

58 new cases - total now 647

31 March 2020

Today, there are 48 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 10 new probable cases.

There are no additional deaths to report.

There are now 74 reported cases which we can confirm have recovered.

The combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 647, 58 more than yesterday.

These numbers are encouraging but they are far from a cause for early celebration. New Zealand needs to continue its vigilance. The numbers today show it’s more important than ever to continue to abide by the Level 4 conditions and observe the lockdown.

That’s the best way we will continue to make progress in the fight against COVID-19. 

Today we can report 14 people in hospital with COVID-19.  The locations are as follows:

  • Tairawhiti/Gisborne Hospital – 1 
  • Waikato Hospital – 1 
  • West Coast/Grey Base Hospital – 1 
  • Whangarei Hospital – 1  
  • Canterbury – 1 
  • Auckland City Hospital – 1 
  • Hawkes Bay Hospital – 1 
  • Taranaki – 1 
  • Middlemore Hospital – 1  
  • Wairau Hospital, Blenheim – 1 
  • Nelson Hospital – 1 
  • Wellington City Hospital – 3 

Two of these people are in ICU. For privacy reasons we won’t be providing other details on these patients.

Our laboratories are working to process and report test results as quickly as possible. Over the last seven days our average daily test number is 1777.

As usual, people being tested are expected to be in strict self-isolation until advised of the result of their test.

We are still seeing a strong link to overseas travel (53%), as well as links to confirmed cases within New Zealand (29%) and community transmission (1%).

Summary

As at 9.00 am, 31 March 2020
 Total to dateNew in last 24 hours
Number of confirmed cases in New Zealand 600 48
Number of probable cases 47 10
Number of confirmed and probable cases 647 58
Number of cases in hospital 14 -
Number of recovered cases 74 11
Number of deaths 1  

Transmission

Source of transmission, as at 9.00 am 31 March
Source of transmission % of cases
Recent overseas travel 53%
Contact with known case 29%
Community transmission 1%
Source under investigation 17%

First death linked to COVID-19

29 March 2020

Sadly, New Zealand had its first death linked to COVID-19 on the West Coast early this morning.

The death was in a woman in her seventies who had initially been admitted four days ago with what was thought to be influenza complicated by a underlying chronic health condition.

As we have seen around the world, COVID-19 can be a deadly disease – particularly for elderly people, and those with underlying pre-existing health issues. 

All of our thoughts are with the woman’s family and loved ones at this time.

As a result of the initial diagnosis of influenza and then the subsequent confirmation of COVID-19 there was a period when staff treating the woman were using protective equipment suitable for influenza, but not COVID-19.

Once the diagnosis was confirmed staff took a range of measures to protect themselves and other patients, however as a precautionary approach, the DHB has placed 21 staff in self-isolation for the balance of 14 days from their last involvement in the patient’s care.

Family members visiting the woman in hospital, who do not have symptoms, will also be in monitored self-isolation for the next 14 days.

Understandably, the family would like to take time to grieve, and they have asked for the media to respect their privacy. 

Our health system will continue to do everything it can to help patients with COVID-19. 

We have sufficient hospital capacity to manage our current and projected cases and we have plans in place to boost capacity – if needed.

This latest sad news reinforces the importance of our move to Alert Level Four, and the measures we are all taking to limit spread, break the chain of transmission and prevent deaths.

There were also 63 new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand made up of 60 new confirmed cases and 3 probable cases. This is as at 9.00 am this morning.

There are 56 individuals that we can confirm have recovered.

We have nine people in hospital with COVID-19. There are 3 in Wellington Regional Hospital, 1 in Wairau Hospital (Blenheim), 1 in Nelson Hospital, 1 in Whangarei Hospital and 1 each in Waikato, Taranaki and Dunedin hospitals.

We have one person in ICU on a ventilator. For privacy reasons we won’t be providing other details on these patients.

Our laboratories are working to process and report test results as quickly as possible. Taken over a seven-day period, our average daily test number is 1786.

Anyone who has been tested is expected to be in strict self-isolation until advised of the result of their test – that means effectively quarantining themselves from other members of their family.

We are still seeing a strong link to overseas travel, as well as links to confirmed cases.

Along with a number of clusters currently under investigation we are also investigating a cluster of cases, nine to date, in the Waikato town of Matamata.

The combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 514.

So again, a reminder that we are seeking physical separation not social separation, so be supportive, reach out to people and most importantly be kind.

As Capital and Coast Intensive Care Specialist Dr Paul Young said today in the media: ‘…if New Zealand pulls together as a community and stays at home … you will save more lives than I will in my entire career.’

76 new cases - total now 338

27 March 2020

There were 76 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in the 24 hours to 9am this morning, bringing the total of confirmed cases to 338. 

The number of people hospitalised to date is 20, with eight still currently in hospital. The number of recovered cases is now 37, 10 who have recovered in the last 24 hours.

50 new cases - total now 205

25 March 2020

There are 50 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand as at 9.30 am this morning.

There were 47 confirmed and 3 probable cases in the past 24 hours.

In probable cases, the person has returned a negative laboratory result but the clinician treating the person has diagnosed them as a probable case due to their exposure history and clinical symptoms.  We have had 16 probable cases to date.

Probable cases are treated as if they were a positive laboratory confirmed case and the actions taken are the same as for confirmed cases - that is self-isolation and active contact tracing.

Therefore, our combined total of confirmed and probable cases is 205. We will continue to report the total combined confirmed and probable cases each day.

More details of the new cases, including the probable cases, will be provided via our website shortly and updated as new details emerge.

There are 22 individuals that we can confirm are recovered. We will update this number daily.

We have six people in hospital with COVID-19 - all in a stable condition.  There are three in Wellington hospital, one in Rotorua and two in Waikato. None are in ICU.

Three patients treated for COVID-19 were discharged yesterday, one each from Lakes District hospital in Queenstown, Waikato and Thames hospitals.

Our laboratories are working to process and report test results as quickly as possible. Yesterday we processed 1421 tests around the country.  The total number of tests processed to date is 9780.

Anyone who has been tested is expected to be in strict self-isolation until advised of the result of their test – that means effectively quarantining themselves from other members of their family.

We continue to test people who need to be tested.

Our public health staff actively investigate every case they are notified about.

What we are seeing is that the majority still have a link to overseas travel, including being in the same household as someone who has returned from overseas, or they have attended a known event or cluster of other cases (eg, World Hereford cattle conference in Queenstown or recent cruise ship travel) or are close contacts of a confirmed case.

Public health staff work fast to follow up clusters of confirmed cases from events.

We have now five confirmed cases within one school in Auckland – Marist College. The school is closed and has been closed all week.  All students and staff are being managed as close contacts.  That means they are expected to be in monitored self-quarantine for the next 14 days or 14 days since last contact with each other.

Staff and students should not congregate with anyone outside their home, and keep their physical distance from those within their household for this period. 

There are a number of staff members who are being tested or are about to be tested, as they have symptoms.

 All confirmed case are in self-isolation.  The school has been closed since Monday.

We have community transmission in New Zealand, confirmed in four cases and suspected in other cases we are investigating.

We move tonight to Alert level 4.  We will see a rise in cases for the next ten days, from people infected before today. The numbers will continue to increase before they turn around.  That turnaround will happen if we all do what is asked of us.  If we all play our part we will break the chain of community transmission. This will require all our efforts and I strongly urge all New Zealanders to play their part.

Stay at home, break the chain of transmission, save lives.

We encourage all New Zealanders, as we move to Alert level 4, in particular to look after themselves and to look after others.

40 new cases - total now 155

24 March 2020

There are 40 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand as at 10 am this morning.

We also have 3 new probable cases. In these cases, the person has returned a negative laboratory result, but the clinician treating the person has diagnosed them as a probable case due to their exposure history and clinical symptoms.

These cases are treated as if they were a positive laboratory confirmed case and the actions taken are the same as for confirmed cases, that is self-isolation and active contact tracing. 

Therefore, our combined total of confirmed and probable cases is 155.  We will now report the total combined confirmed and probable cases each day.

More details of the new cases, including the probable cases, will be provided via our website shortly and updated as new details emerge.

There are 12 cases that we can confirm are recovered.  We will be updating this number also on a daily basis.

Our laboratories are working to process and clear test results as quickly as possible.

Anyone who has been tested is expected to be in strict self-isolation until advised of the result of their test.

So far, we have information on around one third of the cases reported today and all of those have a link to overseas travel, including being in the same household as someone who has returned from overseas, or they have attended a known event where transmission was occurring (eg, World Hereford cattle conference in Queenstown recently) or are close contacts of a confirmed case.

Recent travel from overseas is still the main driver of our new infections.  Anybody who has recently travelled from overseas should already be in strict self-isolation.  Close household contacts should be particularly vigilant for any symptoms they may develop.

At this point we are classifying four cases as community transmission – three in Auckland and one in Wairarapa. In these cases, we have been unable to confirm a definite link to overseas travel or to an existing confirmed case. Contact tracing is underway for all cases.

We continue to look carefully at all new cases as more information is reported by public health services.

More than 900 laboratory tests were carried out yesterday, bringing the total number of completed tests to over 8300.

We continue to test people who need to be tested.

As you will all be aware, we are preparing to move to Alert level 4. There is a clear consensus that the sooner we do this the better and this gives New Zealand our best chance of breaking the chain of community transmission. This will require all our efforts and I strongly urge all New Zealanders to play their part.

New Zealand now at Alert Level 3

We are currently at Level 3, but are preparing to move to Level 4.

What that means for you is that New Zealanders who are outside of essential services must stay at home and stop all interactions with others outside of those in your households.

Click here for more information - Alert Level 3 - what does it mean?

 

What you must do

We are currently at Level 3, but are preparing to move to Level 4.

What that means for you is that New Zealanders who are outside of essential services must stay at home and stop all interactions with others outside of those in your households.

We know that this is a big ask. Eradicating the disease is vital to protect people’s health and ensure our health system can cope and look after New Zealanders who become sick.

You may go for a walk or exercise and enjoy nature, but keep a 2 metre distance from people at all times. You can take your children outside.

Food will always be available – production will continue, distribution will continue, supermarkets will continue. You will always have access to food.

Medicines will always be available.

Healthcare for those that need it will be available.

Your usual financial support, like benefits, will continue as normal.

Remember whatever you do must be solitary. We are asking that you only spend time with those who you are in self-isolation with, and keep your distance from all others at all times.

We need your support to protect New Zealand and eradicate COVID-19. Enforcement measures may be used to ensure everyone acts together, now.

 

 

36 new cases of COVID-19 - total now 102

Media release

23 March 2020

There are 36 new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand as at 8 am this morning. This brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Zealand to 102.

More details of the new cases will be provided via our website shortly and updated as new details emerge.

Of the cases today over half are directly related to overseas travel, most of the remainder are close contacts of a previously confirmed case or associated with an event where there were confirmed cases such as the Queenstown World Hereford Cattle conference. None of the cases announced today appear to relate to community transmission.

Across all cases we have two that we cannot be certain where the infection came from and are therefore treating them as community transmission. The Prime Minister will update the country later the alert level as a result of these cases.

Contact tracing for these cases is ongoing.

More than 1100 laboratory tests were carried out yesterday, bringing the total number of completed tests to over 7400.

Most of our cases are still from people who have travelled to NZ from overseas.

An increasing number of cases are close contacts of people who have travelled from overseas.

We have our two cases of likely community transmission. This makes the core public health messages even more important: physical distancing, cough and sneeze etiquette, washing hands and more importantly not going out if you are unwell.

Also those who are over 70 years of age and people under 70 with pre-existing health conditions should look at working from home where that is possible.

All of us must play our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

Physical distancing

Physical distancing is important but so is social connection. Physical distancing does not mean social distancing.

There are many ways we can continue to interact with friends and family around the country.

In fact, it’s now more important than ever to remember to frequently check in with friends, family, neighbours – people can and should be doing this over the phone or online.

14 new cases of COVID-19 - total now 53

21 March 2020
 

14 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the past 24 hours in New Zealand.

Locations are: Wellington region 4, Taranaki 1, Auckland 3, Waikato 1, Taupo 1, Manawatu 2, Nelson 2.

The total number of cases today is 53 confirmed and four probable.

Most of these cases are travel-related but as yet, in at least two instances, no link to overseas travel has been ascertained and we are continuing to investigate.

At this point we cannot rule out a risk of community transmission on these cases.

Details for each of these cases will be on the Ministry of Health website as soon as it is finalised. The website will continue to be updated as fuller information is received.

‘We always knew cases apparently not linked to imported cases would happen and we are prepared,’ says Director General of Health, says Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

‘It is more important now than ever that we continue with our efforts to trace and track individuals who may have been in contact with confirmed Covid-19 cases.

‘Physical distancing is fundamental to our collective response and we ask all New Zealanders to conscientiously play their part in following the guidelines relating to social contact and the ban on large gatherings, which can be found on the Ministry’s website.’

The number of new cases is in line with what we’ve seen in the past few days. Around 1500 tests were processed yesterday.

Three of the confirmed cases are in hospital. A man in his 60s is in Lakes District Hospital in Queenstown, a woman is in hospital in Nelson and another in North Shore Hospital. All three are stable.

Cruise ships

An Australian cruise ship, the Ruby Princess, which left New Zealand five days ago, has had three Australian passengers and one crew member test positive for COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health is in the process of contacting the 56 New Zealanders who were on board the ship, which includes 28 who have returned to New Zealand. These people would be covered by the requirement since 15 March for all travellers returning to New Zealand to go into self-isolation for 14 days. They are now considered as close contacts and are being followed up daily by health officials.

Details of the movement of that ship and the Celebrity Solstice, which had a confirmed COVID-19 case of a New Zealander on board can be found at Update on Ruby Princess and Celebrity Solstice cruises.

Providing support

This weekend is the first for the many people in self-isolation. It's important to remember that doesn’t mean social isolation.

It's really important for mental wellbeing to stay connected to people.

There are lots of ways to reach out to people by phone, social media, or online contact.

Talking to people and checking in on others keeps us all connected and that is more important than ever.

There is good information about this and other guidelines related to COVID-19 on the Ministry website which is frequently updated.

Thames COVID-19 community swabbing centre opens

20 March 2020

A dedicated community-based swabbing centre for COVID-19 is up and running in Thames and will be open in the weekends from 8.30am - 4.30pm, starting this weekend.

The testing station will be run from the clinic of Thames health provider Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki in Richmond Street.

At present all GP clinics can take swabs, but Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki CEO Riana Manuel says the Thames centre is being set up under the directive of the Ministry of Health to offer additional capacity to handle the influx of people that could potentially come through.

“The COVID-19 swabbing centre is for people who identify that they have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 , particularly if they have been in contact who someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 virus and/or or has returned from overseas from any of the category countries mentioned in the Ministry  of Health website.”.”

Dr Martin Mikaere,  who will be managing the swabbing centre, noted thatsays the “The weekend swabbing centre clinic is for swabbing and testing for COVID-19 only.

“There will be no Nursing or GP appointments available and this will not be a time to organize organise prescriptions etc.  Those matters will need to be dealt with from Monday to Friday during our normal clinic hours.”

He says anybody who suspects they have COVID-19 must ring the clinic in advance and further directions will be given thereafter.

Coronavirus COVID-19 symptoms are similar to a range of other illnesses such as the flu and include fever, coughing, body aches, fatigue and difficulty breathing. Shortness of breath can also be a sign of pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

Riana says the key message for people is that by doing the basic things right for themselves and their families first, they will inevitably help to look after the wider population.

“By following the Ministry of health guidelines, keeping ourselves as well as possible, keeping our hands,  and surfacesand, homes as clean as possible, we’ll reduce the rate of spread of this virus,” she says.

 “This virus does not have legs, it does not have wings, it only moves when we move it so let’s keep it contained”.

 “Please remember whānau, be kind, be calm, support each other but from a safe social distance. “

 “Ma te atua, e manaaki whānau.”

Swab results take between 24 and 36 hours.

If anyone is presenting with COVID-19 symptoms, please phone  Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki FREEPHONE 0508 835 676 (0508tekorowai).  Remember, do not come into the clinic.

The Ministry of Health has offered a dedicated, free phone number for people seeking coronavirus information and advice, self-isolation etc Healthline - 0800 358 5453 -  available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or for international SIMs +64 9 358 5453

Covid-19 Border Controls

Media release

19 March 2020
 

The Government announced further border measures today restricting entry to New Zealand.

As of 11.59pm 19 March 2020, only New Zealand residents and citizens (and their children and partners) are permitted to enter New Zealand. 

This includes the Realm countries (the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau), Australian citizens and permanent residents ordinarily resident in New Zealand, airline and marine crew.

There will be some exceptions, on a case by case basis, for example for essential health workers, humanitarian reasons, and others.

Click here for more information on Border Restrictions.

Ministry of Health Update - March 19 

Media release

19 March 2020
 

Eight new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand have been confirmed today, bringing the total number of cases to 28.

As with the cases confirmed yesterday, these new cases are all related to overseas travel. That’s an important point as it means, at this point there is no evidence of community transmission in New Zealand.

Public health staff are investigating the travel history of the cases so we can quickly identify all close contacts and isolate them.

Of these eight new cases, two are in Southland; two in Taranaki; one in Rotorua; two in Auckland and one in Northland.

Details for each of these cases, including flight information where applicable, will be on the Ministry of Health website as soon as possible.

One of the new cases is in hospital. Others are at home and self-isolating.

While it’s important to be alert to the increasing numbers of cases, we are expecting more, given the rapidly evolving situation overseas. We will continue to identify, test and isolate to ensure we can stamp COVID-19 out and slow it down.

‘We want to ensure New Zealand’s health system is able to continue delivering a whole range of care for all New Zealanders in addition to responding to the demands of COVID-19,’ says the Ministry's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

Healthline will be provided with the seat numbers of the recent flights and will soon be able to advise anyone on these flights whether they are considered a close contact. Close contacts will be required to undertake 14 days of self-isolation, and will be monitored for symptoms.

Self-isolation

A reminder that self-isolation for cases or close contacts of cases is straight forward – stay at home or in one location.

Self-isolation for those who’ve returned home from overseas is essentially about physical distancing – you can still go for a walk around the block or for a bike ride or get out in the garden.

But it’s important to remember not to socialise or visit places where there are other people.

More information is on our website. Where possible, ask friends or family to drop off anything you need or order supplies online. Make sure any deliveries are left outside your home for you to collect.

Some New Zealand companies are now offering a ‘contactless’ delivery option, where they notify you when they have delivered your order but remain nearby to ensure you receive it.

Supporting our mental wellbeing

It's important to not only look after our physical health but also to maintain our resilience and look after our mental wellbeing at the same time. The Ministry of Health has initiated a pyschosocial response to ensure people have the information they need to be able to take care of their mental wellbeing.

This includes ways of being able to talk about COVID-19 safely to children who may be experiencing distress. There is information available on our website and this will be added to in the coming days.

Physical distancing

As with all aspects of our response to COVID-19, we are regularly reviewing our advice on physical distancing.

The risk is still greatest within one metre but as a precautionary measure, the distance for contact tracing purposes within public health units will remain focused on those within a two metre distance of a confirmed or probable case.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 who are in strict isolation should maintain a two metre distance from others in the household.

Close household contacts of confirmed cases are at a higher risk of also developing COVID-19 and should also maintain a two metre distance.

Agencies are currently working together to develop the best ways to support physical distancing within community settings. Physical distancing in workplaces is one way we can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or the risk. For example, from next week the Ministry of Health will be working towards having a third of our people working from home at any one time. We'll rotate them through.

It’s about creating more space between people in the building and is part of getting physical distancing to be the norm, during our response to COVID-19.

All of us have a role to play in stopping further spread. Fundamental to New Zealand's response is not putting yourself or others at risk if you are unwell – not going to work or being out in public if you are sick. And not travelling if you are sick. We need to all unite against COVID-19.