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There are 25 new cases of COVID-19 to report in New Zealand today.
23 of the new cases are imported at the border, and 2 are workplace contacts linked to the port worker reported on Sunday.
The first case was first considered as a casual contact of the port worker, this person that the initial case works for had a very short exposure to the case on Friday morning when they became symptomatic. They became symptomatic yesterday and was tested and has returned a positive result. One household contact of this case has been tested and will be in self-isolation for the 14 day period.
The second case is a workplace contact came into the Ministry of Health database just after 9 am this morning and the case is being reported today regardless — “It is important that people know as soon as we have the information,” said Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
This case which is the second was a previously reported close contact of the initial port worker reported on Sunday, and the person has been at the Jett Park since Sunday. They were tested on Friday as part of the routine workplace testing at the port and returned a negative test on top of a number of previous negative tests as part of the routine surveillance testing at the port. The person developed symptoms on Monday and was swabbed and returned a positive result. This cases household contacts returned negative results but are now considered close contacts, they will be re-tested routinely or if they develop symptoms and will also be self-isolating for the next 14 days.
The Ministry says that out of the three ships put under investigation, the Sofrana Surville is still most likely where the infection originated. The ship is currently in Brisbane, testing was done, but the Ministry does not have any results to report today, but if they come in the results will be reported.
There were 19 crew members working on the ship.
Dr Ashley Bloomfield gives a brief on the Sudima managed isolation facility in Christchurch.
There are now a total of 18 cases, after originally being 11, have been in that facility amongst the Russian and Ukrainian fishing boat crews who all come into New Zealand on a chartered flight that originated in Moskow through to Singapore. They remained on-board in Singapore and then flew through to Christchurch.
“They have been in that managed isolation which is dedicated to that group of 235,” said Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
“All were tested pre-departure and in fact, two people didn’t get out on the flight in Moskow because they returned a positive test. Our current information is that that testing was not rapid testing. It was the nasopharyngeal PCR testing. We have not got a number of the actual results from that testing, and we are going through just checking and matching with those who now have positive results.”
Some of the testing identified in that 18 are new acute cases, and some are most likely historical infections, looking at the CT values. The Ministry is also doing serology testing to help ‘build the picture’.
Those that are positive have been moved to a ‘quarantine ring’ in the same hotel, in the Sudima. There were rooms set aside in-case they were required.
“Anyone who was in a room with a case is obviously being followed up as close contact, and they are now in single rooms. The most of the people in that group are in twin rooms in the hotel, and we are looking at the risks of potentially moving them into single rooms, including whether we need to use additional facilities and will be talking with our infection prevention control colleagues down there and the managed isolation facilities,” said Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
“We are adding an additional day 6 testing for all those people, and that will be happening tomorrow because we want to be sure that there hasn’t been cross-infection either on the flight or inside the facility.”
The group may need to stay for longer due to the number of people that were in two-people arrangements.
All of the staff at the facility have been tested over the last three days, and additional testing will be added for the staff members, including their families if they wish to take that up.
People at the Christchurch Airport are being asked to be tested if they haven’t already been tested in the last couple of days, including the bus drivers who transported them to the managed isolation facilities.
There are three un-related imported cases who arrived from London via Singapore on October 16 and tested positive at around day 3 of testing in managed isolation at Christchurch.
The Ministry is doing a ‘little investigating’ on every case in managed isolation by looking at the CT values to identify if these are likely to be acute or historical cases as a number of recent cases were picked up at day 12.
“The thing we are alert for is a positive day 12 test, raises the potential of some cross-infection inside the managed isolation facility, so we are wanting to rule that out by checking if these cases have a high CT value and they are asymptomatic. It very strongly suggestive of a historical case, which again, reduces the possibility there was cross-infection across the facility,” said Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
In addition to those three cases that are in managed isolation, in a different facility in Christchurch, there are a further two imported cases in managed isolation facilities in Auckland. The first of these is a person who arrived on October 16 from Jordan via Dubai and Kuala Lumpur – they tested positive at routine day 3 testing. The second and final cases arrived on October 17 from Malaysia and tested positive also at routine day 3 testing. Those three cases will now go into the Auckland quarantine facility if they are not there already.
Two are close contacts reported, as one is close and one is casual contacts of the community case announced on Sunday — “All appropriate precautions have been taken in place there,” said Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
The others are all in managed isolation facilities, a number of them in a single facility associated with that charter flight for the fishing crews that were bought in. They were captured through border procedures and are well contained.
“That is exactly why we have the protocols and procedures in place, so we find these cases and contain them at the border,” said Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
The total number of active COVID-19 cases is currently 56. Two previously reported cases have now been considered as recovered.
There is no one in hospital with COVID-19 in New Zealand.
The total confirmed COVID-19 cases remain at 1,556. This is the number that the Ministry of Health reports to the World Health Organisation.
Laboratories yesterday processed 6,308 tests, bringing the total number of tests processed to date to 1,040,911.
The Ministry of Health is encouraging people to use the COVID Tracer App during this time as much as possible.
“Please also keep a record of where you have been and who you have seen. For contact tracing to be most effective, we all need to remember where we were not just yesterday but two weeks ago or even longer. This is because, by the time someone starts showing COVID-19 symptoms, they could have passed the virus on to others in the community,” said the Minsitry of Health in a press release.
“The easiest way to keep track of where we’ve been is with the NZ COVID Tracer app. This helps contact tracing go faster whenever it’s needed so we can quickly break the chain of transmission and minimise the likelihood and extent of any further lockdowns.”
Currently, 2,311,700 users have registered on NZ COVID Tracer App.
The app has recorded a total of 95,433,191 poster scans, and users have created 3,985,810 manual diary entries.
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