Covid 19 coronavirus: No new cases in the community, one in MIQ

There is one new case of Covid-19 in managed isolation and no new cases have been found in the community.

The new case flew via Singapore and tested positive on their day three test. The country they flew from is yet to be established.

Of the 125 contacts of the Valentine’s Day cluster there are still three test results still outstanding – these people are all linked to the medical clinic location of interest from the first family.

The Ministry of Health said this was considered a “low risk” exposure event.

Besides the cases reported last week, all of the other close contacts have tested negative.

There are now 1,413 “casual plus” contacts identified at Papatoetoe High School – where two students have tested positive – and there are just 17 tests outstanding.

“We do remind all students and staff at the school to please stay home and have a test if they haven’t already,” the Ministry of Health said. “School is expected to return on Monday 22 February. Close contacts at the school will not be able to return until they have been advised by public health that they can.”

There are still 55 tests outstanding from the 444 people who work at LSG Sky Chefs – where one of the first cases works – but all nine people who work in the laundry with her have tested negative.

There are still nine testing centres open across Auckland. They are in Takanini, Wiri, Otara, Botany, Balmoral, New Lynn, Henderson and Northcote, as well as the dedicated testing site at Papatoetoe High School.

On Saturday there were 7,392 tests were processed across the country.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 51 and due to a previous case being reclassified as being under investigation, the total number of confirmed cases remains at 1994.

The Health Ministry said it was “really encouraging” to see Covid Tracer scan numbers remained high with more than 1.7 million scans recorded in the 24 hours to 1pm on Friday – with an average of 1,518,589 scans made each day this week.

“Please keep up the good work and continue to use the Covid Tracer app to keep track of where you’ve been. Please also continue to scan QR codes wherever you go and turn on Bluetooth tracing in the app dashboard if you haven’t already done so,” the Health Ministry said.

The Health Ministry also reminded Aucklanders to continue “simple health behaviours” which would help them to continue enjoying their summer and protecting their families:
• Stay home if you’re feeling unwell and get advice about a Covid test
• Wash your hands
• Keep a record of where you’ve been. Scanning QR codes with the NZ Covid Tracer app makes it easy
• Turn on Bluetooth tracing in the NZ Covid Tracer app
• Wear a face covering on public transport and on domestic flights.
• Wear face coverings in situations where physical distancing is not possible, like in shops.

As well, it said businesses should:
• Put up plenty of QR code posters in your shop/café/restaurant/bar
• Invite your customers to scan in as they go in
• Encourage everyone to wash or sanitise their hands

The Government will update New Zealand’s alert levels tomorrow – determining whether Auckland joins the rest of the country in level one.

Auckland's level three lockdown

Auckland was plunged into a sharp 72-hour lockdown last Sunday night after three people in one family tested positive. The lockdown was lifted on Thursday morning after health officials deemed the outbreak to be well-contained.

The mother who works at LSG Sky Chefs handles laundry from international flights, but the source of the infection is still unknown, with the likelihood of her being infected from a surface being deemed “very unlikely”.

The woman’s daughter also tested positive and was later found to have passed the virus to her classmate at Papatoetoe High School who in turn passed it on to her family.

Everyone at Papatoetoe High School has been tested and so far all results have come back negative.

The school is set to reopen tomorrow, but all staff and students need a negative test result before returning.

Vaccines

The vaccination campaign got underway this week with 100 vaccinators getting jabs on Friday and workers at the Jet Park quarantine facility getting theirs yesterday.

Lynette Faiva – the first MIQ worker to be vaccinated – said the vaccine was nothing to be afraid of.

“I didn’t feel anything. It was like a small prick. I’m going to tell them it doesn’t hurt and it was really easy,” Faiva said.

She said it was a privilege to be the first to receive the vaccine and was grateful for the opportunity.

“It was about providing another layer of protection.”

About 12,000 border and MIQ workers will be vaccinated over the next couple of weeks before their household contacts and then later the remaining general public.

Details of the wider public rollout, set to start in the second half of the year, is still be finalised.

Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said yesterday’s vaccinations marked a significant step forward in the fight against Covid-19.

“A milestone that protects those at highest risk of getting the virus and helping to reduce the risk of spreading into the community.”

Bloomfield said New Zealanders need to remember this pandemic is the most significant global public health challenge in a century and management it will require all our efforts for some time to come.


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