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COVID-19 Update

Today there are 76 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 13 new probable cases. There are no additional deaths to report.

There are now 92 reported cases which we can confirm have recovered. The combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 797, 89 more than yesterday.

Today we can report 13 people in hospital with COVID-19, including two in ICU. All patients are stable. More details are on our website.

For those cases we have information on, we are still seeing a strong link to overseas travel (51%), as well as links to confirmed cases within New Zealand (31%) and community transmission (1%).

Another 17% of cases are still being investigated and we fully expect that many of those will transpire to be community transmission, once other alternatives such as overseas travel or link with a confirmed or probable case have been excluded.

Laboratory Testing

Our test capacity has grown significantly.

Yesterday our labs across the country processed 2563 tests bringing our total to over 26,000 tests processed to date.

We now have eight labs processing tests, next week it will be ten.

Our total volume that we can now process is more than 4 thousand tests a day - over the last seven days, the average number processed has been 1848 tests per day.

We know we benchmark well with other countries in terms of testing capacity, particularly where we are at in the stage of the outbreak in New Zealand.

This is due to a huge amount of work by our labs in the past few weeks.

Our laboratory network of private and hospital based labs continue to meet daily to plan, coordinate and ensure we have capacity for anticipated demand. We can move test volumes to other labs if needed.

We are still testing for other communicable diseases, though that demand is currently low.

Our labs report there is no pressure on the supply of swabs for COVID-19 testing or other testing

We are already analysing the information we now have about where COVID-19 is in New Zealand. We know we’ve had the most cases in the following four DHBs: Southern, Waikato, Auckland and Waitemata.

Looking at testing rates in different regions will give us information to help inform decision making about moving from Alert level 4 to Alert level 3, as we may look at different Alert levels in different parts of the country.

There are currently supplies for 35,000 complete tests in New Zealand - within the next week, that number will be up to 80 to 100,000.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

There is plenty of PPE available in New Zealand, more is on the way and clinical advice is available about recommended use.

In the past seven days we have distributed 1.8 million masks to DHBs and the health and disability sector.

On Tuesday night, we confirmed an order for 41 million additional face masks which will start to arrive on Monday and continue to be delivered over the next six weeks.

DHBs are also working actively with their staff to ensure they have both access to PPE and clinical advice on its appropriate use, and also in ensuring staff are well informed about plans in place to ensure a steady supply.

We have 23 million pairs of gloves in the country, with another 1 million on order to maintain stock levels. There are 850,000 safety glasses, and 640,000 face shields on order as well.

These new stocks will be for our healthcare workers immediate use and they will also be used to allow us to maintain our stocks and ensure an uninterrupted supply.

Sector Preparedness

The hospital sector has been working hard over the past few weeks to free up capacity and occupation rates are around 50% around the country, much lower than usual.

Our intensive care units have put in a huge amount of work in the past week to be prepared to look after people who might need ventilation or intensive care.

The Ministry has received feedback of the impressive level of planning and preparation within ICU by our health professionals, doctors and nurses.

Flu Vaccination

Nearly 900,000 vaccines have been sent to providers so far this year. This year’s flu vaccine campaign will be the biggest ever with 400,000 more vaccines available in 2020 compared with last year.

We have brought forward the flu vaccines for those most at risk to vaccinate our priority groups – those over 65 or others with underlying health conditions. We are also now vaccinating front-line health workers. Vaccination for everyone else is from 13 April.

We know we do have sufficient doses in the sector to meet the demand from these groups but it may require some redistribution.

We are aware of around 500 doses being shifted from Defence to Whangarei for use by local Māori health providers there and a similar number of doses being moved from a private occupational health provider in Wellington for use locally to protect frontline health staff.

Another 100,000 doses have now already arrived in the country and a further 200,000 doses arrive this weekend. Both lots are expected to be distributed next week.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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