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2 Cases Of COVID-19 In Managed Isolation; Update On Northland Case

There are 2 cases of COVID-19 in managed isolation to report in New Zealand since our last media statement yesterday.

There have been no new cases in the community to report

New border case details

Arrival date From Via Positive test day/reason Managed isolation/quarantine location 
24 Jan Japan Direct flight Day 0/routine testing Auckland 
24 Jan Portugal United Arab Emirates and Malaysia Day 0/routine testing Auckland

Update on Northland case

Sixteen people have been identified as potential close contacts of the previously reported case in Northland. Of those, 15 people have returned negative tests, including a household contact of the case.

An additional close contact is awaiting their test result. A total of 157 staff from the managed isolation facility at Pullman Hotel have been tested, along with 192 guests currently in the facility. Of those, 30 still have test results to come, and all others have returned negative results.

Contact tracing staff are following up with 357 people who departed the managed isolation facility between 9 and 24 January. Of that number, 325 have been contacted, are isolation and have been or are being tested. The remaining former guests are being followed up today.

187 people received a push notification as a result of having scanned into one of 31 locations of interest. A further location was added yesterday and is on the Ministry’s website. At this time 154 people have been identified as ‘casual plus’ contacts, as a result of either the push notification or after speaking with Healthline following media publicity. These people are being tested and are isolating until they receive their result.

The source investigation into how the Northland case was infected continues today at the managed isolation facility. This includes reviewing CCTV footage at the facility and looking at whether the infection may have occurred from person-to-person or surface transmission, or airborne transmission, including possibly the ventilation system.

We’d like to take this opportunity to again thank the tireless efforts of all staff working in managed isolation and quarantine facilities around New Zealand. Your frontline efforts to help break the chain of transmission of COVID-19 and keep New Zealanders safe and healthy are truly appreciated.

Definition of a contact

There have been a number of calls over the past two days to Healthline from people wanting clarification between close and casual plus contact

A close contact is someone who’s more likely to be at higher risk of being infected because they spent time in close proximity to a confirmed case during the case’s infectious period.

A casual or casual plus contact is someone who has had only limited exposure to a confirmed case, usually by being in the same location of interest either at the same time or soon after a confirmed case.

Testing in the community

Yesterday more than 1500 people were tested at community testing centres around the region.

Northland DHB informs us that the rate of testing per 1,000 people was greater for Mâori than any other ethnicity in Northland.

The high demand at our COVID-19 testing sites may mean delays, and our request is to please be patient. Extra staff from Counties Manukau and a number of volunteers are working at sites around the Northland region to support the testing centres. Frontline staff are working hard to ensure everyone who needs to be tested gets a test as soon as possible.

There is capacity to test everyone, who needs a test– but we need your help to get testing running quickly and easily.

-If you were not at a location of interest at the stated times and you have no symptoms you do not need to be tested.

-If you were at the locations of interest at the times stated, you need to get a test, and remain isolated until you receive the result.

If you have symptoms but have not been to a location of interest stay home and call Healthline for advice.

Testing centres around Northland remain open and free today for people who need a test. Nine community based testing centres have been operating since Sunday afternoon.

You can find more information about these locations

here.

Please note, one location has changed – the Ruakaka testing centre has moved to the racecourse on Peter Snell Road.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service has a full list of community testing centres throughout the region here

https://www.arphs.health.nz/public-health-topics/covid-19/where-to-get-tested/

For anyone that has not been to a location of interest but is concerned, contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or call your GP to see if you need to have a test. Please remember to stay home if you are unwell, maintain stringent hygiene practices, including washing and drying your hands, and cough or sneeze into your elbow.

Update on variants detected in New Zealand

As announced yesterday by the Ministry, whole genome sequencing results for the Northland woman has confirmed that she has contracted the B.1.351 variant, first identified in South Africa.

Whole genome sequencing has identified a total of 9 samples of B.1.351, first identified in South Africa and 35 samples of the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom, since 13 December, as well as a number of other previously identified strains.

The lineages are all consistent with overseas exposure.

All positive COVID-19 tests in New Zealand are sent to ESR to attempt whole genome sequencing as part of ongoing surveillance.

We are also continuing to monitor advice from the World Health Organization on this variant. Currently there’s limited epidemiological data available on the B.1.3.5.1 variant. What we know so far is that it may be more transmissible. There are no indications to date for any differences in disease severity or incubation times and some evidence it might evades some of the antibodies in the bodies immune response.

New forms, or variants, of the virus have become increasingly common around the world – and we have expected to see them here in New Zealand. This has been the case in our managed isolation and quarantine facilities.

Case numbers

As mentioned above, there are two cases of COVID-19 in managed isolation to report in New Zealand since our last media statement yesterday.

One previously reported case has now recovered. The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 65. Our total number of confirmed cases is 1,934.

The total number of tests processed by laboratories to date is 1,493,495.

On Monday, a total of 3,582 tests were processed. The seven-day rolling average up to yesterday is 3,660 tests processed.

NZ COVID Tracer

NZ COVID Tracer now has 2,496,000 registered users. More than 20 thousand people registered with the app between 1PM yesterday and 10 o’clock this morning.

An additional 693,903 post scans have been recorded in the same period, bringing the total scans to 160,090,202.

Users have created a total of 6,541,813 manual diary entries

Understandably, there has been an increase in registered users, Bluetooth users and scans since Sunday and we’d like to take the opportunity to thank New Zealanders who’re helping break the chain of transmission.

Using Bluetooth and scanning together keeps a private digital diary of where you have been and who you have been near and means you will receive instant notifications about possible exposure to COVID-19. To enable Bluetooth on the app, you need to turn it on within the app, rather than just on your phone in general settings.

Please remember to keep up the momentum and scan, scan, scan.

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