Daily COVID-19 Developments (09.09.20)

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There are 6 new total cases of COVID-19 to report in New Zealand today. All have been reported as community cases.

All of the six cases have epidemiological links to existing cases and link back to the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship group.  

The total number of active COVID-19 cases in New Zealand is 125. 43 of these are imported cases in MIQ facilities, and 82 are community cases.

There are 4 people with COVID-19 in hospital today.

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2 are currently in ICU (Intensive Care Unit).

The total number of COVID-19 related deaths for New Zealand is 24.

The 6 new cases bring a total number of confirmed cases to 1,437, which is the number MOH (Ministry of Health) reports to the World Health Organization. 

Case information:
Multiple people involved in the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship was tested over the last 10 days. The Ministry is still seeing cases emerge in this group and are asking all members of the group to be re-tested.

“We also ask anyone who may have had contact with members of the Fellowship to be tested, even if they have previously tested negative. People should be tested even if they have no symptoms,” said the Ministry of Health.

Four of the new cases, from the 6 new, are linked to a sub-group, correlated with an amount of bereavement gatherings, including visits to the home of the bereaved and a funeral. All close contacts are now isolating and being tested. There is 108 people that are associated with this group that are self-isolating.

“A reminder that we provide both welfare support and security, as needed, to people to make this easier. This is an important part of our management of the Auckland outbreak and ensures that it is contained,” said the Ministry of Health.

One case reported yesterday is a student that was attending St Dominic’s Catholic College. The last date the student participated at the College was on Friday but had left early after starting to feel ill. The student was tested immediately over the weekend for signs of COVID-19; any close contacts who are identified will also be contacted by contact tracers to give advice on isolating and getting tested.

“We are working with the school to arrange to test for all staff and students in the school community. Further information will be available as they are confirmed,” said the Ministry of Health.

The rest of the school’s community is asked to closely monitor their health and contact their GP or Healthline for advice if they become ill.

Another case reported yesterday is a driver of the Northern Express bus service, and ARPHS will be releasing bus journey details during the evening of Wednesday (September 9). The Ministry of Health says there is ‘no close contacts’ from their bus trips.

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Since August 11, the contact tracing teams have identified 3,346 close contacts of cases, of which 3,305 have been contacted and are self-isolating, the teams are in the process of getting the rest involved.

There are 74 people linked to the community cluster who remain in the Auckland quarantine facility, which includes 58 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their household contacts.

Hospital/Recoveries:
Two people are currently stable and are in an isolation ward at North Shore hospital.

Two are in ICU, at North Shore and Waikato hospitals.

Four cases have additionally recovered.

On September 4 a man in his 50’s passed away with COVID-19. Earlier today (5Sept) there was a confirmation of a second death related to COVID-19. The total casualties in New Zealand are now 24.

Testing:
Laboratories yesterday have processed 8,363 tests for COVID-19, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 831,517.

Contact Tracing:
These recent cases have shown us the importance of a fast and robust contact tracing system.

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“When we find someone has tested positive for COVID-19, we need to quickly be able to trace everyone they have been in close contact with, have those people go into isolation, and have them tested. This is crucial to stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,”

“It is encouraging that we continue to see the number of people registering with, and using the NZ COVID Tracer app to record their movements,” said the Ministry of Health.

NZ COVID Tracer App:
The NZ COVID Tracer app by the Ministry of Health has recorded 2,161,200 registered users so far.

There has been 362,919 QR codes created and displayed at entrances to shops and busineses around the country.

There has been an average of 2.15million scans per day, that took place over the last week, the Ministry of Health is releasing another update to the app to make scanning QR codes more efficient and simple.

The new NZ COVID Tracer app update will mean that the scanner will open directly to the scan screen, but only if are logged in. A smart feature also means you can bypass the login screen to scan a QR code if you do not have much time to enter your COVID Tracer password.

Diary entries for the NZ COVID Tracer app will now be stored in your phone for 60 days instead of 31, as previously they were deleted at 31 days– this will make it easier for contact tracers to establish links between possible cases or links to COVID-19.

“Note that this doesn’t in any way affect the security of your information – the Ministry cannot access your digital diary unless you choose to share it with us after a request from a contact tracer.”

The Ministry is recommending that you are adding notes to your diary entries to record who you were with to ensure contact tracing is a lot quicker. The app now allows you to do this as you’re scanning a QR code or a specified time to add them when you can.

The Ministry also announced to media that the NZ COVID Tracer booklet is also available from the COVID19 Government website to help people keep a written record of where they’ve been and who they’ve seen if they cannot download the NZ COVID Tracer app.

Rydges worker investigation:
A investigation into the case of the maintenance worker at the Rydges MIQ has now closed, meaning that the most likely source of infection was a one-off exposure event – it was confirmed to be surface transmission in an elevator that the worker used after a returnee from the United States used the same elevator, happened to test positive for COVID-19.

Widespread testing around the worker’s contacts in both household and workplaces did not find any other cases of COVID-19. They all come back as negative on tests.

“We acknowledge the support of the maintenance worker, as well as staff and management at the Rydges in Auckland. Case investigations are complex processes and their success relies on the cooperation of the case, their contacts and their employers. The cooperation of everyone involved in this situation allowed us to complete a thorough and complex investigation, which allowed us to conclude there was no onward transmission from the maintenance worker,” said the Ministry of Health.

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