Media release

6 September 2020

There are 5 new cases of COVID-19 today, 6 September 2020. There are now 116 active cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand. See our current cases page.

Contact tracing and self isolation
We are tracing all close contacts of these cases, and getting them tested for COVID-19. All close contacts will remain in self-isolation for 14 days. Most casual contacts do not need to self-isolate and only need to be tested if they develop symptoms. Read more information on self isolation for close and casual contacts.

Alert levels
All of New Zealand is at Alert Level 2. Gatherings within the Auckland region may involve a maximum of ten (10) people. There can be up to 50 people at funerals and tangihanga if the event is registered with the Ministry of Health. Find out more on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.

28 August 2020

There are 12 new cases of COVID-19 today, 28 August 2020. There are now 131 active cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand. See our current cases page.

Contact tracing and self isolation
We are tracing all close contacts of these cases, and getting them tested for COVID-19. All close contacts will remain in self-isolation for 14 days. Most casual contacts do not need to self-isolate and only need to be tested if they develop symptoms. Read more information on self isolation for close and casual contacts.

Alert levels
Until 11.59 pm Sunday 30 August the Auckland region (Auckland Council area) is at Alert Level 3. The rest of New Zealand is at Alert Level 2. Find out more on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.

 

Media release

18 August 2020

There are 13 new cases of COVID-19 today

As is our usual protocol we are tracing all close and casual contacts of these cases, and getting them tested for COVID-19. All close contacts will remain in self-isolation for 14 days, and all casual contacts will remain in self isolation until they have returned a negative test.

There are now 90 active cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand

 
17 August 2020

There are nine new confirmed cases of COVID-19 to report in the community today. There are no new cases to report at the border.

Seven of the new cases are linked to previous cases in the cluster, and two cases remain under investigation but are strongly believed to be linked to the same cluster.

There are now a total of four cases under investigation.

As of 6 pm last night, 86 people linked to the cluster have been moved into quarantine facility, made up of 36 people who have tested positive and their household contacts.

There are five people receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19. Two are in Auckland City Hospital on a ward, and three people are in Middlemore.

The nine new confirmed cases to report today bring our total number of confirmed cases to 1280 which is the number we report to the World Health Organisation.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 78, of which 58 are from the recent community outbreak, and 20 are imported cases in managed isolation and quarantine facilities.

Testing

We are continuing to see record levels of testing and our laboratories are continuing to meet the demand for levels we have not previously seen or processed.

Yesterday our laboratories processed 26,014 tests for COVID-19, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 597,956 of which almost 100 thousand were completed in the last 6 days.

As previously reported, because of the high volumes that we are seeing it may take up to 48 hours for swabs to be processed through the labs.

Only people who have symptoms should get tested. Our highest risk swabs are getting processed as quickly as possible.

Swabs of close contacts and others considered high-risk are prioritised and those with positive results are alerted quickly.

Border testing

Testing has ramped up even further at the border – both at airports and at ports.

A dedicated testing team is operating with extended hours to ensure Ports of Auckland workers have access to Covid-19 testing.

Testing of all government-agency frontline staff at the Auckland border – Customs, Biosecurity, Immigration NZ, Aviation Security – is expected to be completed soon.

We’re continuing to test staff working in managed isolation and quarantine facilities across the country.

In Auckland where more than 2500 staff work in managed isolation and quarantine facilities, 2100 staff have been swabbed on site, with further staff tested at community testing centres and GPs.

Casual contacts

Understandably there is significant interest in the contact tracing activity and locations or organisations where confirmed cases may have been.

Our contact tracing processes includes in-depth interviews, usually more than once, with confirmed cases to get a full picture of anyone they have been in close contact with and other places they have been.

Many of the media reports of organisations or locations being closed are due to positive cases having been at that location for a period.

However, in most of these instances the people that were there at the same time are casual contacts that should monitor their health and get medical advice from their GP or Healthline if they become unwell.

Some casual contacts will be asked to get tested and should self isolate until results come back.

We have been using the COVID Tracer App to contact people in the relevant locations and times when they have scanned in. I have asked the team to also publish those location and time details on our website.

Some locations of interest in the last two days where the risk is considered low at this stage:

  • Botany Mall – between 1–2 pm on August 11
  • Buttabean Motivation, School Rd – between 5.15–6 am on August 10
  • Eden Junior Rugby Club, Gribblehirst Park, Sandringham between 5.30–6.30 pm on August 11
  • A guinea pig show – at the Auckland Cavy Club, in Hall Road, Glenfield between 10 am–2 pm on August 8.

The important note here is that the risk from these locations is most often very low so please don’t feel the need to avoid these areas or organisations.

This goes for those that are also reported in the media.

NZ COVID Tracer

NZ COVID Tracer has now recorded 1,442,300 registered users, which is an increase of 68,100 in the previous 24 hours.

There have now been 210,266 QR codes generated – an increase of 16,761 in the past 24 hours.

There were 833,020 poster scans in the last 24 hours. The number of poster scans has now reached 6,249,729.

Testing at the Mt Wellington Americold NZ Ltd facility

An update on the surface testing at the Americold facilities. Swabs were taken over the weekend and flown to ESR for testing.

The testing process will take time to work through and we need all tests completed to be able the full picture. These are expected this week.

On a related note some supermarkets have said to us that some customers are concerned about frozen goods.

A reminder that New Zealand Food Safety has reviewed the most recent science from around the world about the risk of being infected with Covid-19 through contact with food or food packaging. To date, there is no evidence of transmission via food or food packaging.

Normal hygiene procedures are always a good idea, such as washing your hands before preparing food. Because of the negligible risk of transmission via food packaging, New Zealand Food Safety do not recommend any form of disinfection.

Lastly, I would like to reiterate COVID-19 is the problem – not the people who have it.

We collectively are all part the solution – and we all should acknowledge the many different people playing their part.

I repeat again: there is no shame, and no blame, in having the virus.

People who we know who have tested positive for COVID-19 are to be commended – they have done their bit to protect the team of five million, and their quick action in coming forward to be tested, and then being in isolation, means they deserve our thanks and praise.

Media release

13 August 2020

There is one new case of COVID-19 to report in managed isolation – a woman in her 30s who arrived in New Zealand from the Philippines on August 8. She has been in managed isolation at the Distinction Hotel and tested positive around day 3 of her stay.  

There are also 13 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 to report in the community today. They are all in Auckland and are all linked to the four people from the same family in Auckland previously reported. We will put the details of these cases up on our website. 

That means we have 14 new confirmed cases to report today in total, bringing our total number of active cases in New Zealand to 36, 17 of which are linked to the recent outbreak. 

That brings our total number of confirmed cases to 1,239, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.

We are now treating these cases as a cluster – and what we know about clusters is that they grow. What is important is that we investigate these cases to their full extent, and that is exactly where people who are coming forward to be tested are helping us.

One new case is a student at Mount Albert Grammar. The student is a relative of the previously announced cases in the community. 

The school has sent a letter to over 100 students and a handful of staff who are considered close contacts, advising them to self-isolate for 14 days. The student was not symptomatic while at school and has not been at school since they became unwell and got tested, so the chance of exposure to the school community is considered to be lower risk.

Everyone in the school community has been asked to monitor their health closely and seek advice from their GP or Healthline if they have any symptoms of COVID-19, which could include:

  • new or worsening cough, sore throat, runny nose, fever, temporary loss of smell and difficulty breathing. 

Three people who have tested positive are employees of AmeriCold, the workplace of one of the previously reported cases. Another seven cases are family members of those employees.

Two of the AmeriCold sites, Mount Wellington and Auckland Airport, have been closed, and all staff from the Airport site have now been tested. A mobile testing unit went to the homes of symptomatic people from the Mount Wellington site yesterday and further testing is underway. 

Another person who has tested positive is an employee of Finance Now, the workplace of one of the previously reported cases. That person was admitted to North Shore Hospital and they have since been discharged.

There is another person who has tested positive for COVID-19 who is a family member of that Finance Now employee. 
There is also one probable case of COVID-19 in the community, also linked to the new outbreak. 

As part of our overall national response to this new outbreak, the Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has directed medical officers of health that all cases of COVID-19 are to be managed in a quarantine facility. 

This is different to how positive cases were managed when we were last at level 4 and 3 and shows how serious we are about limiting any risk of ongoing transmission, even in self isolation. This will apply to any cases and also close family members who might be at risk as appropriate. These facilities have been set up specifically, and have excellent processes and resources in place to look after people, including health staff on site at all times. This will also help us avoid any further inadvertent spread into the community. 

Yesterday our laboratories processed 6,006 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 508,711. The total number of swabs collected yesterday was well over 10,000.

There were many thousand more samples collected yesterday that have been processed since midnight, which will be reflected in the number we report tomorrow. 

Demand has been high at the dedicated testing centres across Auckland and we thank people for being so patient while they waited yesterday. It is important to know is that while we have a number of pop-up testing stations around Auckland, people can also get testing at their GPs – this is also free. This is the same around the whole country.

Two additional pop up testing sites will open today in Henderson and Airport Oaks, bringing the total number of pop-up and permanent community testing centres in Auckland to 15. 

The Vaughan Road centre in Rotorua, and the Miro Street centre in Taupô have extended their hours (9-4pm) and are now open 7 days a week.

A Turangi testing centre opposite the Police station is open today and Friday and a second Rotorua testing centre, at Devon St West's International Stadium will be open today and through the weekend.

Aged residential care facility

We are aware that one of the people who has tested positive has visited a rest home in the Waikato. All aged residential care facilities in the country are currently closed to the public, but anyone who has visited the facility recently should also closely monitor their health and seek advice if they have any concerns. 

The visit was when the person was well but they did develop symptoms the next day.  The visit was to a family member resident and the visitor saw their family member and was in contact with several staff.

Waikato DHB have confirmed they are today testing all staff and residents.  The facility has isolated the area visited from the remainder of the facility.  The DHB has staff on standby in the event that they're needed if the ARC staff need to be stood down.

The DHB has ensured that the facility has all the PPE they need. We are working very closely with this facility, and we would like to thank them for being so helpful. 

Rotorua

A further update on Rotorua. Testing is available to staff of any business or people who visited any of the businesses at or after the times below. 

From what we know so far, the family checked into Wai Ora Lakeside Hotel at 3.30pm on the 8th of August.

We know they visited the Herbs and Spice Thai Restaurant at 8pm that evening – the 8th. The following day at 2.30pm they visited the Pak n Save supermarket at Amohau Street in Rotorua, before heading to Heritage Farm and 3D Art Gallery at 3.30pm. At 4pm they then headed to the Skyline Gondola and Luge.

The following morning on the 10th they visited Sail Barbary Eco Sailing in Taupo at 10.30am before returning to the Heritage Farm and 3D Art Gallery at 3pm.

There was also a visit that evening at 7pm to Burger Fuel Redwood Centre in Rotorua. On their way home, the family stopped for fuel in Hamilton at 9am on Tuesday morning.

For those businesses visited by the family who haven't yet been issued with an alert, the advice is the same - monitor your health and if you're unwell, ring Healthline. Testing is available to any business that requires it and anyone who is symptomatic should take immediate action.

We know there are other locations the family members visited during their time away however at those locations, we are confident there was no other risk of exposure. The family members were the only people at some of these locations, while others were drive throughs.

App alert

This morning for the first time we have utilised the alert function on the NZ COVID Tracer app, which allows us to send a notification to anyone who scanned in to the locations at the same time we know people who have tested positive for COVID-19 were there. We have issued an exposure alert covering the two separate visits to Heritage Farm and the one visit to the Skyline Gondola.

QR codes

NZ COVID Tracer has now recorded 986,000 registered users – that’s 338,000 in the last 48 hours. There have been 138,000 posters created – 51,000 in the last 48 hours. The app has now recorded a total of 2,667,550 poster scans and 449,000 manual entries. 

Genome sequencing 

We are continuing with genome sequencing investigations. What we know so far is that there has been no exact link with a recent case in MIQ from the samples we have been able to genome sequence, however, genome sequencing of new cases resembles the genome pattern from the UK and Australia most closely. 

Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki COVID-19 Testing Clinics

A dedicated community-based swabbing centre for COVID-19 is back up and running in Thames, supported by a Mobile Testing clinic, which will travel to rural areas throughout the Hauraki rohe from Thursday, August 13.

The Thames testing station will be run from the carpark of Thames health provider Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki at 210 Richmond Street. test

The Thames clinic will be open for testing Monday to Friday from 9am-12noon and 1-4pm; and this Saturday and Sunday 9-3pm. We will notify of arrangements for next week as we learn more about the Government’s plans.

Anybody who suspects they have COVID-19 must ring the clinic in advance on Freephone 0508 835 676 (0508tekorowai) and further directions will be given thereafter. They must not come into the clinic.

The same for people attending the Mobile Clinics – they will need to remain in their cars until they are triaged and assessed for swabbing.

The Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki Mobile Clinic timetable is: 

THUURSDAY, AUGUST 13 - Harataunga School House driveway 9-11am; Manaia Marae, 1-3pm.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 14 - Waihi Marae 9-11am; Paeroa 1-3pm.  

MONDAY, August 17 - Kerepēhi Marae 9-11am; Kaiaua 1-3pm.

The Thames Whānau Health Centre and mobile clinic will only be operating as COVID-19 testing centres. Anyone who is unwell for conditions not related to COVID-19 must phone their regular GP, who will give instructions as to procedure.

Contact us freephone on 0508 835 676
Watch our Facebook page for updates on times and locations.

Media release

11 August 2020
 

The Prime Minister has announced four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in one family from an unknown source. The index case is a person in their 50s who lives in South Auckland. 

They were swabbed yesterday, and the swab was processed twice. A second swab, taken today confirms the positive result. 

The person has been symptomatic for five days and was interviewed this evening by the Auckland Regional Public Health Service.

The person has no overseas travel history. 

As is our usual protocol we are continuing to trace close and casual contacts of this person and test them for COVID-19. 

This has included household contacts of the case who received a rapid test this evening. Three of these tests have also come back positive and three are negative. 

All close contacts of the four cases will remain in self-isolation for 14 days, regardless of their test result, and all casual contacts will remain in self-isolation until they have the results of their test. 

In addition, we are working over the next few days to test all people that are working at our borders and everyone that works at a managed isolation facility. 

There will also be no barriers to anyone that has cold and flu symptoms getting tested. Testing is free. 

‘I’ve said it previously, but it’s even more relevant now, if you are offered a test, please take it’, Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.

In Auckland the four community testing centres in Northcote, Grafton, Henderson and Wiri will be operating with more staff and extra hours. The testing centres in Auckland, Waitemata and Counties Manukau are all prepared for receiving more people. Details will be on our website tonight.

The three DHBs in Auckland are planning pop up clinics over coming days and they will publicise the locations and hours of these clinics.

The Ministry will be working closely with DHBs and primary care around the country to ensure additional testing capacity is available to meet an expected increase in demand.

As we’ve been saying for several weeks, it was inevitable that New Zealand would get another case of community transmission.

We have been working on the basis that it could be at any time – and that time is now.

The health system is well prepared for this eventuality – and the important thing now is that we don’t let the virus spread in our community.

As we did in the early days of this virus emerging, we need to stamp it out.

There are things that every single New Zealander needs to do now: 

  • continue stringent hand hygiene 
  • sneeze and cough into your elbow. 
  • if you or a family member are unwell stay home and contact Healthline or your GP about getting a test
  • practice physical distancing of two meters wherever possible
  • consider wearing a mask in public spaces or places where it is hard to physically distance. 

If you have any concerns please seek advice from Healthline or your GP on getting a test. 

If you have not already, please use this opportunity to download the NZ COVID Tracer app. 

This will give us your up to date contact details, so if we need to get in touch with you for contact tracing purposes, we can do so quickly. 

If you have fallen out of the habit of recording your movements as you go about your day, this case is a reminder of why it is so important. 

You can still use the manual function on the app to record where you have been recently, and scan in using QR codes going forward. 

A reminder too, for businesses – please have a QR code displayed so your customers can be traced quickly if required. 

‘Our contact tracing team will be getting in touch with anyone identified as being a contact of this case. Please be responsive if you are contacted – return the call. 

‘This case is a wake-up call against any complacency that may have set in. 

‘We cannot afford to let this virus spread. We have seen how quickly it can lead to a wider resurgence in communities overseas. Places that have had COVID-19 under control have seen flare-ups and gone back into a full lockdown. 

‘We are working to not let that happen here. We’ve done this before and we can do it again,’ Dr Bloomfield said.

There are now 26 active cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand. New Zealand's confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 to date is 1574 – see our current cases page.


Alert levels

As of midday on Wednesday August 12 the Auckland region (Auckland Council area) is at Alert Level 3 for 3 days until midnight on Friday 14 August. The rest of New Zealand is at Alert Level 2. Find out more from the Unite Against COVID-19 website.

 Where to get a test for COVID-19 in Auckland 

If you have symptoms you can:

  • get a test at most GPs - call ahead to find out if you need a test and follow their advice. 
  • get a test at a Community Testing Centre - this list will continue to be updated. 

You can also call Healthline for health advice on 0800 358 5453

For COVID-19 health advice and information, contact the Healthline team (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or +64 9 358 5453 for international SIMS.

NZ COVID Tracer app  

The official Ministry of Health contact tracing app helps you keep a digital diary of the places you’ve been. Click HERE for app.

 

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