By RNZ News
New Zealand has announced there are 12 new cases and one probable case of covid-19 in Auckland and Waikato today.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield revealed at today’s daily briefing there were now a total of 48 active cases, with 30 linked to the community outbreak.
The total number of confirmed cases of covid-19 in New Zealand is now 1251.
Two of the 13 new cases are in Tokoroa.
“These two people tested positive after being followed up as close contacts from a family member who is one of the Auckland cases, so part of that Auckland cluster,” Dr Bloomfield said.
He said 12 of the 13 new cases had already been linked to existing cases and to the Auckland cluster. The 13th case is in hospital and the link was still under investigation.
Dr Bloomfield said 38 people linked to the cluster were already in the Auckland quarantine facility and this included the cases and household members.
Numbers expected to grow
Although he was not pleased about the situation, he was pleased additional cases were being identified, he said. He expected the numbers in the Auckland cluster to grow.
Today’s media briefing. Video: RNZ News
Minister of Health Chris Hipkins said it was “good news” that so far all the cases Dr Bloomfield mentioned were connected and part of one cluster.
“We’ve seen no evidence of a covid-19 positive test outside of Auckland which is unrelated to the cluster we’re dealing with. But we are not out of the woods yet.”
Two more schools and a preschool in Auckland have closed, after a student in each tested positive. The schools are Glamorgan School on the North Shore and South Auckland’s Southern Cross campus, and Taeaofou I Puaseisei Preschool.
The Waikato DHB’s public health unit said the two people who tested positive in Tokoroa were from the same household that had contact with two people from Auckland. They were the same people who visited the Kingswood Resthome in Morrinsville on a trip out of Auckland.
“The resident who visited tested negative and so did the staff members who interacted with the visitors. All staff were tested and we expect those results later today and tomorrow.”
The visit occurred while the two people were feeling well and before they were aware of any potential exposure or that they were infectious, Dr Bloomfield said.
DHB support for family
He said others in that household had tested negative. Staff at the DHB were providing support to the family, who were all self-isolating.
Arrangements were being made to establish a bespoke quarantine arrangement for their wider family and a testing station will also be up and running in Tokoroa over the weekend.
All positive cases in Auckland were being asked to transfer to the Auckland quarantine facility.
Dr Bloomfield said a record 15,703 tests were processed yesterday, with 26,000 tests taken in the past 48 hours.
The total number is now 524,414.
“Demand has been high. There are 16 stations around Auckland and it is free at your local GP.”
Hipkins said testing had ramped up at the borders and all frontline workers would be tested by end of today.
Most airport staff tested
There were more than 280 staff who work on the frontline at the border at the Auckland International Airport and most of them had been tested, Hipkins said.
Hipkins had not made testing compulsory at the border because it was “quite a big lever to pull”.
Of the 2459 people who worked in managed isolation or quarantine facilities, 1435 had been tested.
About 1.6 million face masks were sent out at 4.30am this morning to 125 social sector groups in Auckland. Another 1.4 million will also be distributed.
At today’s briefing, Dr Bloomfield reiterated the problem was the virus not the people.
Dr Bloomfield said there had been reports that health workers had been verbally abused and that was “unacceptable”.
He also said the chief executive of Pharmac had notified him that people were starting to stockpile medicines.
“Please do not do that. That will mean it will be very difficult for some other people to get the medicines.”
This article is republished by the Pacific Media Centre under a partnership agreement with RNZ.