The first case of COVID-19 in Tauranga has been confirmed today, says the Minister of Health’s Director-General Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
A Bay of Plenty man in his 30s who recently returned from the United States on March 17 is the first Tauranga person to test positive for COVID-19.
The Director-General has announced the case is amongst the 14 new NZ cases of COVID-19 confirmed today by laboratory testing, bringing the number of confirmed cases in NZ to a total of 66.
“The locations are Auckland – five cases, Northland – one, Canterbury – one, New Plymouth – two, Waikato –three, one in Tauranga, and one in Dunedin.
The Director-General gave a live update at 1pm today.
“All these cases are in self isolation with close contacts being identified, followed up, placed in self isolation and then regularly monitored," says Dr Bloomfield.
“ Eleven of these new cases have a history of international travel. One is a close contact of a confirmed case, and two were at the World Hereford Conference in Queenstown earlier in the month which had a range of both New Zealand and international delegates.
“We have four probable cases as well. These are cases that have previously been described, however even though we thought they were COVID-19, laboratory testing was negative, we are treating them as probable cases.”
Just over 1200 laboratory tests were carried out yesterday around the country. That brings the total number of tests carried out to date to over 6000.
Dr Bloomfield also provided an update on community transmission.
“There were two cases announced yesterday where community transmission could not be ruled out. Our further investigations of these two cases have still not identified a firm link to overseas travel.
“Just for clarity, community transmission is when we cannot confirm exactly where the infection came from. As we investigate these cases further including close contact tracing, this increases our understanding of what the infection pathway may have been, and we can then communicate with anyone who may have been in close or casual contact, and ensure that appropriate action is taken.
“We can also then update local communities about events and situations where contact may have occurred. So, in both of those cases, that work is ongoing.
“I understand that people in the areas where those two people live are concerned about the risk of transmission, so I ask everyone in those two regions to continue with good hygiene practice, social distancing, and seek advice if you have symptoms.”
Details for each of the cases mentioned today by Dr Bloomfield and of confirmed cases are on the Ministry of Health’s website.
COVID-19 Update on Ruby Princess and Celebrity Solstice cruises
The Celebrity Solstice and Ruby Princess cruise ships, which recently visited NZ, have both had confirmed cases of COVID-19, which were confirmed subsequent to their departure from NZ
“We are asking any passengers on those two ships who left the ships during their stay in New Zealand, to isolate for 14 days since they last had contact with other ships’ passengers, and of course to be aware of symptoms and seek advice if they do develop symptoms,” says Dr Bloomfield
Details of the movements of both ships can be found on the Ministry of Health’s website.
“We are also in direct contact with the New Zealanders who were on board those vessels,” says Dr Bloomfield. “Some are still in Australia, and have yet to return to New Zealand. The Customs officials have the details of those people and they will be identified at the border. They will be asked to self-isolate, along with every other person entering New Zealand now; and to register with Healthline.
“Coming back to the Hereford cattle conference in Queenstown, our public health team is following up delegates to that conference which was held from 9-13 March, and four attendees, including two New Zealanders, have tested positive for COVID-19. The other two are an Australian and someone from Uruguay.
“Close contacts of those cases are being asked to self-isolate and other attendees at the conference are now considered as close contacts in a precautionary way, and they have also been contacted and required to self-isolate for 14 days, since they were in contact with people who were at that conference.
“Southern District Health Board is doing the tracking and tracing work on this with support from the Ministry of Health."
COVID-19 Alert Level 2
Dr Bloomfield says that the COVID-19 Alert Level remains at Level 2.
“You will note that from the presentation the Prime Minister made yesterday that as part of Alert Level 2 we are asking people with pre-existing conditions such as chronic respiratory disease which might include severe asthma, bronchiectasis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; and people who are immune-compromised or if they are having cancer treatment, to remain at home.
“A message to the over-70s – many of you are fit and healthy, and living active lives, but the older we are, the less our immune system is able to fight off this virus and indeed other infections, and we have seen from overseas that older people are at more risk of serious complications. So we are strongly urging you to be aware of the need to stay at home and not to have contact with others,” says Dr Bloomfield.
“Please do adhere the advice to stay at home. Ask friends and families, particularly your children, not to visit. For the meantime this may mean talking to your family on Skype or other methods.”
Earlier today, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the government would move to the next two phases of the Covid-19 alert levels, if yesterday's two confirmed cases were proven to be the result of community transmission.
A level 3 alert status recognises a heightened risk that the disease is not contained and demands that authorities further restrict travel and public gatherings.
A host of public venues would face closures, including gyms, libraries, museums, food courts and pools.
Some non-essential businesses would face closure too.
Dr Bloomfield said Healthline was overloaded and he pleaded with people to use it properly. It was not there to give general advice, nor to offer information about self-isolation, he said.
Current Cases of COVID-19 in NZ:
|66||Auckland||20s||M||Austria to Auckland via Doha arrived 17 March- flight EK448|
|65||Northland||40s||F||Melbourne to Auckland on Sunday 15 March – flight JQ217|
|64||Canterbury||50s||F||San Francisco to Auckland on Monday 16 March – flight NZ7
Auckland to Christchurch on Tuesday 17 March – flight NZ523
|63||Taranaki||20s||M||Dubai to Auckland on Tuesday 17 March – flight EK448
Auckland to New Plymouth on 18 March – flight NZ8041
|62||Taranaki||50s||M||Bangkok to Auckland on Sunday 15 March – flight TG0491
Auckland to New Plymouth on 16 March – flight NZ8041
|61||Auckland||40s||F||Travel to Africa – details to come|
|60||Auckland||20s||M||Dubai to Auckland on Monday 16 March – flight EK448|
|59||Auckland||60s||No international travel history – exposed at World Herefords Conference in Queenstown.|
|58||Auckland||60s||M||No international travel history – exposed at World Herefords Conference in Queenstown. Domestic travel history:
Dunedin to Auckland on Sunday 15 March – flight NZ674
|57||Hamilton||60s||F||Travel history to Ireland, Dubai and Australia. Details to come.|
|56||Bay of Plenty||30s||M||Travel history to the United States of America – details to come.|
|55||Coramandel||60s||M||Honolulu to Auckland on 14 March – flight HA445 (arrived 15 March)|
|54||Waikato||40s||F||Contact with a confirmed case|
|53||Dundedin||40s||M||LA to Auckland on 14 March – flight NZ1
Auckland to Queenstown on 14 March – flight NZ615
|51||Nelson||20s||F||Travel related, however international flights outside of infectious period.
Domestic flights: Auckland to Nelson on 16 March – flight 5065
|49||Manawatu||20s||F||Doha to Auckland on 14 March – flight QR0920
Auckland to Palmerston North on 16 March – flight NZ5107
|48||Manawatu||40s||M||Travel related. Queenstown to Christchurch on 13 March – flight NZ642
Christchurch to Palmerston North on 13 March – flight NZ5181
|47||Taupo||50s||M||Dubai to Auckland on 10 March – flight EK0448|
|46||Auckland||70s||M||Dunedin to Auckland on 16 March – flight NZ674|
|45||Wellington||30s||F||Dubai to Auckland on 12 March – flight EK44
Auckland to Wellington on 12 March – flight NZ433
|44||Wellington||50s||M||Travel related, however international flights outside of infectious period.
Auckland to Wellington on 8 March – flight NZ449
Wellington to Hamilton on 12 March – flight NZ5810
Hamilton to Wellington on 13 March – flight NZ5823.
|43||Wellington||50s||M||Sydney to Wellington on 14 March – flight QF161.|
|42||Waikato||60s||F||Singapore to Auckland on 13 March – flight SQ0285.|
|41||Auckland||60s||M||Cruise ship travel. Domestic flights – Dunedin to Auckland on 15 March – flight NZ670.|
|40||Wellington Region||50s||M||Travel related, however flights outside of infectious period.|
|39||Otago||20s||Male||LA to Auckland on Wednesday 18 March – flight NZ554 Auckland to Queenstown on Wednesday 18 March – flight NZ615|
|38||Wellington||30s||Male||Not infectious on flight|
|37||Auckland||40s||Female||London to Doha to Auckland (on Sunday 15 March) - flight details to come.|
|36||Auckland||40s||Male||Los Angeles to Auckland - flight details to come.|
|35||Auckland||30s||Female||Los Angeles to Auckland - flight details to come.|
|34||Waikato||70s||Female||Dubai to Auckland on Monday 16 March – flight EK0450|
|33||Waikato||60s||Male||Dubai to Auckland on Monday 16 March – flight EK0450|
|32||Hawkes Bay||30s||Male||Doha to Auckland on Monday 16 March – flight QR920 Auckland to Napier on Tuesday 17 March – flight NZ5021|
|31||Wellington||40s||Male||Melbourne to Wellington on Saturday 14 March – flight SQ247|
|30||Canterbury||50s||Male||Los Angeles to Auckland on Saturday 14 March – flight AA83
Auckland to Christchurch on Sunday 15 March – flight and NZ535
|29||Auckland||Singapore to Auckland on 11 March|
|28||Southern DHB||Sydney to Christchurch on Friday 13 March – flight EK402|
|27||Southern DHB||30s||Female||London to Auckland on Tuesday 17 March – flight NZ1
Auckland to Christchurch on Tuesday 17 March – flight NZ525 Christchurch to Dunedin on Tuesday 17 March – flight NZ5749
|26||Auckland||40s||Male||Melbourne to Auckland on Sunday 15 March – flight QF153|
|25||Auckland||60s||Male||Los Angeles to Auckland on Friday 13 March – flight NZ05|
|24||Rotorua||50s||Male||Singapore to Auckland on Friday 13 March - flight SQ285|
|23||Northland||20s||Male||Sydney to Auckland on Monday 16 March – flight VA0141|
|22||Taranaki||40s||Male||Cairo to Frankfurt (Lufthansa LH581 on Saturday 7 March) to Vancouver to Auckland on Sunday 15 March – flight NZ23 Auckland to New Plymouth on Sunday 15 March – flight NZ8035|
|21||Taranaki||40s||Female||Dubai to Auckland on Monday 9 March - flight EK448 Auckland to New Plymouth on Monday 9 March - flight NZ8041|
|20||Waikato||70s||Male||Singapore to Auckland on Sunday 15 March – flight SQ285|
|19||Waikato||20s||Female||Sydney to Auckland on Sunday 8 March – flight NZ112|
|18||Canterbury||40s||Female||Singapore to Christchurch on Monday 16 March – flight SQ297|
|17||Invercargill||40s||Male||Not infectious on flight|
|16||Auckland||60s||Male||Travelling from Canada (on Thursday 12 March) - flight details to come.|
|15||Auckland||60s||Male||San Francisco to Auckland on Friday 13 March – flight NZ7|
|14||Auckland||40s||Female||Not infectious on flight|
|13||Auckland||50s||Male||Dubai to Auckland on 14 March – flight EK448|
|12||Dunedin||Teens||Male||Associated with travel of case 11.|
|11||Dunedin||40s||Male||Singapore to Auckland on Saturday 7 March - flight NZ283 Auckland to Dunedin on Sunday 8 March - flight NZ675|
|10||Wellington||70s||Male||Los Angeles to Auckland on 14 March – flight AA83
Auckland to Wellington on 14 March – flight NZ419
|9||Wellington||30s||Male||Los Angeles to Auckland on 14 March – flight AA83
Auckland to Wellington on 14 March – flight NZ419
|8||Wellington||60s||Male||Brisbane to Wellington on Saturday 14 March – flight NZ828|
|7||Dunedin||30s||Female||Denmark to Doha to Auckland on Tuesday 10 March - flight QR920) Auckland to Christchurch on Tuesday 10 March - flight JQ225|
|6||Auckland||60s||Male||Houston to Auckland on Friday 6 March – flight NZ029|
|5||Auckland||40s||Female||Associated with travel - Doha to Auckland on Sunday 23 February – flight QR0920|
|4||Auckland||40s||Male||Singapore to Auckland on Tuesday 25 February – flight NZ283|
|3||Auckland||40s||Male||Associated with travel - Doha to Auckland on Sunday 23 February – flight QR0920|
|2||Auckland||30s||Female||Singapore to Auckland on Tuesday 25 February - flight NZ283|
|1||Auckland||60s||Iran to Bali to Auckland on Wednesday 26 February – flight EK450|