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71 New Cases Of COVID-19

Today there are 49 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 22 new probable cases. There are no additional deaths to report.

There are now 103 reported cases which we can confirm have recovered.

The combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 868, 71 more than yesterday.

Today we have 13 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 1 person in ICU. All those people are in a stable condition.

From our lab numbers, we can report a 7 day rolling average of tests at 2041 per day. The total of lab tests to date is 29,485. A high number of 3446 tests were carried out yesterday. We now have capacity for 5400 tests a day.

For those cases we have information on, we are still seeing a strong link to overseas travel (49%), as well as links to confirmed cases within New Zealand (33%) and community transmission (1%).

Another 17% of cases continue to be investigated and we fully expect that some 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.


Clusters
We now have 10 significant clusters (that is, more than 10 people infected from a single source).

More details are available on our website: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-current-situation/covid-19-current-cases/covid-19-clusters

The largest clusters are in Auckland, Bluff and Matamata.


Community Based Assessment Centres
Community based assessment centres have been operating in some locations for the past couple of weeks. They were set up to safely and efficiently test for COVID-19.

There are now 62 around the country in addition to 45 designated practices or swabbing centres.

We’re asking for all DHBs to stand up their CBACs this weekend so we know where demand is strongest and so we can test that the process of sending tests through to labs is running efficiently.


Recovered cases
We are able to clarify how we define recovered cases. Different countries are taking different approaches to this and New Zealand continues to watch international developments closely.

The current criteria being used in New Zealand are:

An individual with COVID-19 can be released from isolation when at least 10 days has passed since onset of symptoms and at least 48 hours of being symptom free.

A negative test result isn’t required for an individual in isolation at home, although a test could be at the discretion of the clinician where the patient has been in hospital.

The Technical Advisory Group meets again today and this is one of the things being discussed.


Border controls
Yesterday about 300 people arrived into New Zealand, continuing a decline in numbers. There are no longer any visitors arriving.

All travellers entering into New Zealand are required to self-isolate for 14 days from arrival.

They also have to answer a comprehensive set of questions.

This includes:

Have you been in close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
Have you had any of the following symptoms in the past 14 days: fever, cough, difficulty breathing?
Have you been tested for COVID-19?
Do you intend to self-isolate?
At what address do you intend to self-isolate?

Passengers are being disembarked in small groups for processing. When they meet with health officials, they will be asked about their plans for self-isolation and transport.

If a passenger is symptomatic on arrival, they will be assessed, quarantined and tested. At present we have 135 people in quarantine.

If a passenger is not symptomatic on arrival, they will be asked to explain their plan for self-isolation and transport arrangements. If their plans are not satisfactory, they will be placed in managed isolation. We currently have 1405 people in managed isolation.

If someone already has a good plan, they are required to go into self-isolation according to that plan.


Important role of primary care
Today, we want to acknowledge the important role of primary care in supporting the shift in approach to health care as a result of COVID-19.

This week has seen a Government announcement around initial funding support for general practice ($15m) and community pharmacy ($15m) as part of the frontline response.

As a result of this announcement, a general practice with about 5000 people registered would receive around $12,000 as an upfront payment. In the case of a high needs practice, that would be around $22,000.

In addition, practices are eligible for the wage subsidy scheme and we are doing urgent work around further funding for primary care to ensure they are financially sustainable.


World Health Organization
Today’s WHO Situation Report provides a good summary of the current evidence around transmission of COVID-19.

For symptomatic people, it reinforces that COVID-19 is primarily transferred from symptomatic people to close contacts via respiratory droplets, via direct contact with each other or by contact with contaminated objects and surfaces.

The average time for developing symptoms after exposure is 5 – 6 days.

During a pre-symptomatic period, the method of transmission is the same.

During any potential transmission periods, the same precautions will protect people: physical distancing, not going out if you are unwell, cough and sneeze etiquette and meticulous hand hygiene.

You can learn more here: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200402-sitrep-73-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=5ae25bc7_2

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