Four new cases of COVID-19 in managed isolation
There are four new cases of COVID-19 to report in New Zealand today – all detected in recent returnees in managed isolation.
There are no new community cases.
Details of today’s cases are as follows:
• One arrived from Qatar via Australia on 5 November and tested positive at routine testing around day 12 of their stay in managed isolation.
• Two arrived from the UK via Qatar and Australia on 12 November and tested positive at routine testing around day 3 of their stay in managed isolation.
• One arrived from France via Qatar and Australia on 12 November and tested positive at routine testing around day 3 of their stay in managed isolation.
"Our total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is now 1649," says a statement from the Ministry of Health.
"One previously reported case has now recovered, which means there are 61 active cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand."
Yesterday, laboratories completed 6146 tests for COVID-19, bringing total number of tests completed to date to 1,191,034.
November quarantine cluster
"It has now been 14 days since we reported Case A had tested positive for COVID-19.
"While it is encouraging that during this time we have only identified another four cases of COVID-19 that are all connected to Case A, it has not yet been 14 days since the last identified cases – Case D and Case E – were out in the community.
"While we know Case A and Case D have an identical genome, and that means Case D most likely caught COVID-19 from Case A, despite extensive investigation we have not yet been able to identify the exposure event that links these two people epidemiologically. Auckland Regional Public Health Service continues to pursue every possible angle on this source investigation," says the Ministry.
"We are asking anyone who has visited one of the locations of interest during the relevant time period in the Auckland CBD – including the Mezze Bar and A-Z Collections - to get a test, regardless of whether they have symptoms.
"This wide surveillance testing in the area where we know Cases A and D were when they were infectious will also help us have added confidence that neither Case A nor Case D have further passed the virus on to anyone else. All surveillance testing around these two cases has to date returned negative results."
The pop-up testing clinic on Auckland’s Freyberg Place remains open until at least Friday and anyone who has visited a location of interest within the relevant time period and has not yet been tested should do so as soon as possible.
This testing facility is complemented by the six community testing centres in Auckland, along with availability at urgent care and primary care clinics across the city.
"Anyone with cold or flu symptoms anywhere in New Zealand should get a test and stay home until they receive a negative result.
"Routine follow-up of contacts of each of the five cases continues."
NZ COVID Tracer app
NZ COVID Tracer now has 2,364,900 registered users. Poster scans have reached 116,664,548 and users have created 4,839,697 manual diary entries.
Significant progress is being made on work to allow third-party integration with the NZ COVID Tracer app and the National Contact Tracing Solution.
Users of the Rippl app, developed by digital agency Paperkite, are already able to receive NZ COVID Tracer contact alerts and in due course will be able to share their digital diaries with the Ministry when required for contact tracing, says the Ministry.
"Paperkite is now taking this one step further by trialling an automatic check-in feature that uses Bluetooth beacons. This allows Rippl users who have Bluetooth enabled to check in to select locations without needing to scan the QR codes.
"The beacons are already being trialled at several locations and will be in use at this weekend’s Beervana festival in Wellington. The results of the trial will inform decisions by Paperkite on any further rollout of the beacons.
"The Ministry’s partnership approach to third-party integration is helping us stay on top of the latest digital contact tracing innovations and concepts.
"Third-party integration also helps improve contact tracing by increasing the range and volume of information available to contact tracers, by allowing more New Zealanders to receive contact alerts and share their location histories, and by making it easier to contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19."
The Ministry expects the Rippl, SaferMe and Snapper platforms will be fully integrated with the National Contact Tracing Solution by early 2021. New Zealanders who use these platforms can be assured their personal information will be shared with the Ministry for contact tracing only if they have given their consent.