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No new community COVID cases reported today

Today's new case is in managed isolation. File photo.

There is one new case of COVID-19 to report in managed isolation in New Zealand today.

There are no new community cases, says a statement from the Ministry of Health.

"The case reported today arrived from Singapore on October 31 and has been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility. 

"Twenty-four previously reported cases are now considered to have recovered, bringing our total number of active cases to 44."

The total number of confirmed cases is now 1,618. 

Yesterday, laboratories completed 6856 tests for COVID-19, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 1,126,986.

Cases linked to managed isolation in Christchurch

"Since identifying the positive test results in the two people who work in the managed isolation facility at the Sudima at Christchurch Airport, our systems have rapidly worked to put a ring around the virus and stop it spreading in the community," says the Ministry.

"The first health care worker reported as testing positive sought a test quickly after developing very mild symptoms, even though they had just been tested two days earlier."

The Ministry says this swift action allowed them to rapidly isolate Case A and trace and test their contacts. 

"We then identified a further positive case in another health care worker, Case B, and quickly traced and tested their contacts too. 

"Widespread testing has taken place in the managed isolation facility and in the contacts of the two health care workers."

Staff who worked at the Sudima Hotel since October 23 have been tested, with all 193 returning negative results. 

All of Case A’s close contacts have returned a negative result, and all results received from Case B’s close contacts are negative to date, with one result outstanding, says the Ministry.

"Investigations are ongoing to determine when exactly the health care workers were exposed to the virus, but we believe them to have been infected by the international mariners they have been caring for, 31 of whom have tested positive for COVID-19. 

"The genome of Case A is B1.1.7 – of the international mariners who have tested positive for COVID-19, five are part of the B1.1.7 lineage. 

"Case A’s genome is an exact match with the genomes from these five mariners, indicating a high likelihood that one of these guests is the source of the health care worker’s infection. 

"We are awaiting genome sequencing results for Case B."

The Ministry says yhe health care workers wore PPE while conducting their work, but say the this virus is tricky and has thwarted systems before. 

"As we have done after other events, a review will be undertaken at the managed isolation facility at the Sudima to assess where procedures could be improved to prevent similar infections in the future. These reviews have taken place at other managed isolation facilities and are part of our approach to continually improve how we manage COVID-19. 

"The Community and Public Health team in Christchurch has conducted detailed investigations including interviews and contact tracing and we are confident that there is only an extremely low risk of re-exposure from the health care workers to the mariners. The Community and Public Health team is working on an exit plan for the mariners, who will be transferred directly onto their ships once released from managed isolation. 

"The system here has worked as it is intended to. It is a reminder that we need anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 to act with haste in seeking advice on getting a test. The quick thinking from the health care worker has allowed us to stop this virus spreading into a larger outbreak."

NZ COVID Tracer

There are now 2,342,100 users registered on NZ COVID Tracer. 

The app has recorded a total of 107,789,399 poster scans and users have created a total of 4,492,445 manual diary entries.

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