Daily COVID-19 Developments (17.08.20)

Daily COVID-19 Developments (17.08.20)

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The Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield provided an update on COVID-19 at 1:00 pm today.

9 new total cases. All in the community. No new cases in managed isolation. 7 of the new cases have already been identified. 4 cases remain under investigation, including 2 of the new cases.

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


5 people in hospital, 2 in Auckland City hospital and 3 are in Middlemore hospital.

The 9 new cases bring a total number of confirmed cases to 1,280, which is the number MOH (Ministry of Health) reports to the World Health Organization. 

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.

Case information:

Casual contacts of confirmed cases have been asked to monitor health as a precaution.

“Our contact tracing processes do involve in-depth interviews often more than once with confirmed cases to get a full picture of anyone that they may have been in close contact with and likewise other places that they may have been. Just to help without casual contact tracing,” said Bloomfield.

Some casual contacts may be asked to get tested and asked to be isolated or self isolate until the test results come back.:

Auckland, Botany Mall between 1 pm – 2 pm on August 11

Auckland, Buttabean Motivation, School Rd between 5:15 am – 6 am on August 10 


Auckland, Eden Junior Rugby Club, Gribblehirst Park, Sandringham between 5:30 pm – 6 pm on August 11

Auckland, 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 of these locations is very low so people should not feel the need to avoid those areas or organisations. This is simply us casting a wide net and making sure that anyone that might have been in those locations is aware and to be aware of symptoms,” said Bloomfield.

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,” said Bloomfield.

Many of the media reports of organisations or locations being closed are due to positive cases had 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,” said Bloomfield.

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,” said Bloomfield.


Yesterday, 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.  

“Because of the high volumes, there can be delays in processing at the labs of up to 48 hours but the labs continue to prioritise the tests that are from people who might be at higher risk from returning a positive result. That is close contacts or others who have had contact with the existing cases,” said Bloomfield.

“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,” said Ministry of Health in a statement.

A reminder that people who do have symptoms should be seeking advice and get tested to contain the outbreak.

Testing at the border has been increased and are tests are now being conducted at ports in Auckland and Tauranga.

Staff are continuing to be tested in managed isolation and quarantine facilities around the country. 

In Auckland alone, there is more than 2,500 staff; over 2,100 have been swabbed on-site by the end of yesterday.


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.  The 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.

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 will need all tests completed to be able to the full picture. These are expected this week.

On a related note, some supermarkets have said to the Ministry of Health 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,” said Bloomfield.

“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,” said Bloomfield.


NZ COVID Tracer has now recorded 1,442,300 registered users, which is an increase of 68,000 in the last 24 hours.

There have now been 210,266 QR codes generated – an increase of 16,000 in the past 24 hours.

The number of poster scans has now reached over 6,200,000 – an increase of 833,020 

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