Watch Live: Ashley Bloomfield give update on Covid-19 cases
No new cases of Covid-19 have been found in the community today, while four have been found in managed isolation and quarantine facilities, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says.
Dr Bloomfield says all four new imported cases were identified within a day or so of their arrival. Two cases travelled together from Ethiopia via United Arab Emirates, while the other two cases travelled from India and Canada, via United Arab Emirates - all on February 28.
Two previously reported cases have now recovered. The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 69, and the total number of confirmed cases is 2,026.
The total number of tests processed by laboratories to date is 1,720,909.
On Monday, 8,880 tests were processed. The seven-day rolling average up to yesterday is 7,780 tests processed.
Since January 1, there have now been 37 historical cases, out of a total of 216 cases.
Whole Genome Sequencing for Case O
Preliminary Whole Genome Sequencing results for Case O have been received, linking the case to the Auckland February cluster. The final results will help determine links between the different cases in the cluster.
Since Sunday, February 14 there have been more than 70,000 community tests for COVID-19 in metro Auckland – which is equivalent to more than 4 per cent of the region’s population. 8,880 tests were carried out nationally yesterday.
There are 11 community testing centres open in Auckland today; seven of these are in South and East Auckland. The centres are in Takanini, Wiri, Mangere, Otara, Pakuranga, Balmoral, New Lynn, Henderson, Northcote, with pop-up testing centres at Kohuora Park in Papatoetoe and Barry Curtis Park in Flat Bush.
Community testing centres in Auckland are reporting steady demand today. A reminder that GP and urgent care clinics are also available to carry out COVID-19 tests. COVID-19 tests are free wherever you go.
"A reminder that it is important the right people get tested. Please don’t get a test if you are well, or if you weren’t at one of the locations of interest at the stated times unless you have been advised to by public health teams. Remember the most important thing people in Auckland should be doing at Alert Level 3 is staying home," Dr Bloomfield said.
"As always, anywhere you are in the country, if you have symptoms please stay home and call Healthline (0800 358 5453) for advice."
Community health providers will continue visiting the homes of isolating families from the February cluster. These are welfare checks to assess any needs families might have and to offer wrap-around support from social services to help them remain in isolation safely and access testing.
If needed, these community health providers can also offer translated information sheets or translators to talk through any concerns families might have.
Auckland February cases contact tracing update:
Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) Manukau
Contact tracing of the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) Manukau campus has identified 21 close contacts of Case M, who are being followed up and provided advice from public health staff regarding isolating and testing.
The dates and times of potential exposure events are on the Ministry’s website, on the locations of interest page. This page also has public health advice for people who were at the MIT Manukau campus at these dates and times. The vast majority of people on the campus at the same times as Case M are considered casual contacts and need to watch for symptoms. They do not need to have a test unless they have symptoms, or are a close or casual plus contact. All casual contacts should be limiting their movements and interactions with other people. Under Level 3, everyone in Auckland should also currently be staying at home.
City Fitness in Hunters Plaza
Contact tracing of City Fitness in Hunters Plaza has identified 158 casual plus contacts. These contacts will be followed up by contact tracing teams to ensure that they get a test and stay at home until the test is negative. If you were at the gym on 20 February between 12.20pm - 1.45pm or 26 February between 3.25pm - 4.30pm and have not been contacted then please phone Healthline for advice.
KFC Botany Downs contacts
KFC staff - there are 11 close plus contacts who worked at the same time as Case L. Ten of these people have returned negative test results so far.
All other test results received so far have come back negative.
Detailed advice about the actions required for the different categories of contacts is provided on the Ministry of Health website.
Progress with tests at Papatoetoe High School
Case A had 31 close contacts at the school, one of these tested positive (Case D). All others have tested negative for COVID-19.
All the remaining students and staff at the school have been designated as casual plus contacts of Case A.
All casual plus contacts have been undergoing a follow-up test on or after 22 February; more than 97 percent of results are back, and all results from the follow-up tests are negative.
Kmart Botany contacts
A total of 34 staff members have been identified as close plus contacts.
All 34 people have tested negative.
The Ministry of Health has been contacted by 1,855 people who reported being at the store at the times of interest. They have been provided with public health advice. These people have been asked to isolate for 14 days and be tested at day 5 and day 12 after their exposure to the case. People who have symptoms will be tested at the appropriate time.
We currently have 1,805 negative test results for this group.
Looking after yourself and others
"We understand that this situation is difficult for many and news of Alert Level changes can be frustrating."
The public can access free 24/7 support by phoning 1737, and there is a range of other support listed on the Ministry of Health website.
"Now more than ever, people in Auckland need to look out for each other. We appreciate what you are doing is for the benefit for all of us."
It’s also important to acknowledge the work of those involved in the response. A large number of people are working around the clock on the health response – we thank them for their dedication," Dr Bloomfield said.
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