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3 New Imported Cases

There are two new cases of COVID-19 to report from managed isolation in New Zealand today. There is also a historic imported case bringing today’s total to three. There are no new cases in the community.

One case reported today arrived from Ireland via Dubai on September 29. The person had been in managed isolation at the Sudima in Rotorua and tested positive after developing symptoms. The person has now been transferred to Auckland’s quarantine facility.

The second case arrived from Hong Kong on October 3. The person had been staying in managed isolation at the Holiday Inn in Auckland and has been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility upon returning a positive test result from their routine test around day 3 of their stay.

The third case is a historic case that is regarded as an old infection and the person is no longer infectious. The person arrived from India on August 27, tested negative on their routine tests around day three and day 12 and completed managed isolation on September 11. The person was retested as part of the follow-up to the Christchurch returnee cases and returned a weakly positive result. This is assessed as a historic case. The person was in self-isolation until the investigation by public health was concluded.

Our total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is 1,508, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.

One case is now considered to have recovered.

Our total number of active cases is now 39 - all imported cases. There are no active community cases of COVID-19.

One person remains on a ward in Middlemore hospital with COVID-19 today.

Auckland at Alert Level 1

With those numbers and as Auckland has joined the rest of the country in Alert Level 1 today, it’s worth reflecting on our collective success in responding to the Auckland August outbreak. And it’s a good time to remind all New Zealanders that we must remain vigilant to the risk of the virus re-emerging.

The source of the Auckland August cluster remains under investigation – and we may never know where it came from.

There is an ongoing risk that further community cases will emerge in the future, and the risk of COVID-19 spreading in the community is much greater in lower alert levels when there are no restrictions on gatherings or going out.

Our key point is that Alert Level 1 is not Alert Level none.

So, we need to stay alert and all play our part – any future cases need to be quickly identified, and their contacts isolated and tested, to avoid the virus spreading unimpeded in our communities.

The way to do this is simple.

Most importantly - if you are unwell, stay home, and seek advice on getting a test.

Please continue to keep a record of where you have been and who you have seen – one of the reasons we were able to contain this latest outbreak was through quick identification and isolation of contacts of cases.

And we continue to encourage using masks on public transport and flights, maintaining physical distancing where possible, and stringent hygiene practices such as regularly washing and drying your hands and coughing or sneezing into your elbow.

Vigilance from each and every one of us will support us remaining in Alert Level 1.

Remember, it’s only by acting together that we can protect our whanau and communities.

Reporting updates

We are getting close to a milestone of one million tests since testing began at the end of January this year.

As part of assurance around this figure, we have double checked our data and identified some duplicate counts – about 1% of total tests.

This duplication came about where a test was reported on a day, then as part of ongoing quality assurance was updated on a subsequent day, meaning a small number of tests were counted twice.

As a result of this update, the revised total number of tests processed to date is 986,544.

Yesterday our laboratories completed 6,152 tests.

Health care workers report

The Ministry of Health has today published a report on COVID-19 in health care and support workers in New Zealand, who made up approximately 11% of our total number of confirmed and probable cases in our first wave.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that approximately 14% of COVID-19 cases reported globally were health workers. In some countries, this was as high as 35%.

During the first wave of COVID-19 in New Zealand, we reported 167 cases of COVID-19 in health care and support workers.

The report outlines that 57% (96 of the total 167) of health care and support workers with COVID-19 were likely to have been infected in the workplace. The majority of these cases were part of a cluster.

Of those health care and support workers infected in the workplace, 62.5% worked in aged residential care, 27% worked in a hospital and 10.4% worked in the community.

While our proportion of health care workers infected is lower than many other countries, the report has reinforced the importance of the work needed to protect these workers and the people they work, live and interact with.

The Ministry will continue to work closely with the health sector to strengthen protection for these workers and their contacts as part of the New Zealand response.

Measles

The Ministry is acknowledging the measles immunisation campaign that DHBs are getting underway across the country.

COVID-19 has highlighted the need to ensure our whânau and communities are safe from infectious diseases.

While we can’t vaccinate against COVID-19 yet, we can protect against other infectious diseases like measles by ensuring everyone who can be immunised gets their free MMR vaccine.

Many people between 15-30 years old missed their measles immunisation as children and are at risk of catching and spreading this disease.

Measles is about 8 times more contagious than COVID-19 and last year’s outbreak is a reminder of how just how quickly it can spread among unimmunised people.

Anyone aged 15-30 who isn’t sure if they have been immunised can see their doctor and some pharmacists for a free MMR vaccination.

We’ve also changed the National Immunisation Schedule from 1 October so that young children nationwide are protected earlier against measles, at age 12 months and 15 months.

Measles is still circulating in many countries – while we have tight border controls in place it is a great time to ensure any under 30s are protected against this infectious disease.

Measles campaign resources:

https://www.hpa.org.nz/guardiansofthefutureresources

HPA measles webpage:

https://www.hpa.org.nz/campaign/guardians-of-the-future

A kôrero about measles and immunisation with Nehe Milner-Skudder & Emma Espiner

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMpwFv1DaFw&feature=emb_title

NZ COVID Tracer

There are now 2,300,400 users registered on NZ COVID Tracer.

The app has recorded a total of 86,853,821 poster scans, and users have created 3,676,198 manual diary entries.

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