Daily COVID-19 Developments (20.08.20)

Daily COVID-19 Developments (20.08.20)

Last Updated: 4 weeks ago

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

5 new total cases. These five new cases are reported from the community. There are no new cases to report in managed isolation. Of the five cases in the community – four are Auckland based. One case is connected to the two Tokoroa cases and is currently in Waikato Hospital.

The number of active cases in New Zealand is 101, of which 80 are from the community outbreak, 78 are linked to the cluster, and two cases remain under investigation.  

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There are 133 people linked to the cluster who have been moved into the Auckland quarantine facility. This includes 65 people who have tested positive and their household contacts.

There are six people receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19, One is in Auckland City Hospital, four in Middlemore, and one in Waikato Hospital. One of the cases in Middlemore is now in ICU. All are stable.

The 5 new cases bring a total number of confirmed cases to 1,304, which is the number MOH (Ministry of Health) reports to the World Health Organization. 

Case information: 

The first is the maintenance worker from the Rydges facility. The second case, announced yesterday, was initially linked to the cluster. This has now been reclassified as under investigation with a link still to be established.

The latest information provided to the Ministry of Health is that this second case was at St Luke’s Mall on the morning of Wednesday 12 August.

Anyone visiting St Lukes Mall at that time should be alert to symptoms and contact their GP or Healthline should they become symptomatic or have health concerns.

Further investigation by Auckland Regional Public Health has identified the maintenance worker at Rydges used a lift shortly after the case from the United States used it and this is currently a strong line of investigation.

The nurses mentioned yesterday by Air Commodore Webb have all returned negative tests.

Testing:

The number of tests completed yesterday was 18,091 bringing our total tests to date to 657,506.

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154,000 tests have been processed in this outbreak.

Contact tracing:

Since 11 August, 1,996 close contacts have been identified and 1,921 have been contacted and are now self-isolating.

“We do remind people that if you don’t have any COVID-19 symptoms, you should not get a test unless you have been advised to do so by public health officials,” said Ministry of Health in a press release.

Over the last few weeks, there has been a very high level of demand for testing from people without any symptoms, which has been placing the systems under unnecessary pressure.

“If you do start to feel unwell, please call Healthline or your GP for advice, and they’ll let you know if you should get tested,” said Ministry of Health in a press release.

Americold:

An update of the environmental sampling at the Americold sites in Mt Wellington and Wiri. We expect a full report shortly. The results found no virus at the Wiri site.  

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ESR did find very low levels of the virus on gauze swabs from 4 of the 35 swabs taken at the Mt Wellington site in areas that were likely to be touch zones for Americold employees who have tested positive.  No virus was found inside food packaging.

The detected levels found in the workplace environment and on the outside of packaging were too low to allow genomic sequencing so an analysis and comparison with other samples weren’t possible.

This initial sampling appears to show that additional work here isn’t currently warranted and it does not appear that contamination of imported chilled material packaging is a likely source of infection.

“The Ministry wishes to thank Americold here for their ongoing assistance with us, not only on this but to the response in general,” said Ministry of Health in a press release.

Auckland Travel Exemptions:

Under the current Alert Level 3 restrictions, there are strict criteria around who can enter and leave Auckland.

To date, the Ministry has received more than 7,800 applications for exemptions. More than 1,000 exemptions have been granted, and 100 declined.

“We continue to process exemptions as fast as we can – we have increased the team capacity to manage the high volume coming in and appreciate people’s patience.

Exemptions have been granted for example where someone needs to access medical services, provide care for a vulnerable person, visit a dying relative or move house.

“We are getting applications from people who do not need to apply. Please see the covid.govt.NZ website for a list of industries that are exempt” said Ministry of Health in a press release.

Businesses/Apps::

NZ COVID Tracer has now recorded 1.6 million users – more than 978,500 have registered in the last nine days.

112,616 businesses now have their QR codes, an increase of 6,142 in the past 24 hours.

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