There are two new cases of COVID-19 to report in New Zealand today; the first is a returnee to New Zealand in managed isolation and the second a health worker who works in Auckland’s quarantine facility.
The returnee in managed isolation arrived from South Africa on 8 September and remains in quarantine in Canterbury.
The other new case is a health worker who works at Auckland’s quarantine facility Jet Park managing people in quarantine after they test positive for COVID-19.
Five household contacts are in isolation at their home and are being tested today.
This case is still being investigated to determine if the infection came from the community or from within the quarantine facility, though at this stage no obvious links to other cases in the community have been established.
Thorough tracing of which people in quarantine the health worker had contact with is being undertaken, as is genome testing to see what strain of the virus the health worker has to help identify the source.
This case, which was found from routine weekly testing, demonstrates the value of the regular testing of all staff.
The health worker was tested last week and returned a negative test, so has picked up the virus in between the weekly tests which are done as part of the regular testing of people working in the quarantine facility.
The results of genomic testing are expected tomorrow and will help to inform the investigation.
This is the first time a staff member at Jet Park has tested positive for COVID-19 in five-and-a-half months of operation. In that time the facility has managed 2532 individuals and their close contacts, who have been transferred from the border, from other managed isolation facilities and the community.
Auckland Regional Public Health Service is working closely with the quarantine facility to help with double checking protocols and procedures for keeping safe both staff and people they’re caring for.
We know that staff working in the quarantine facility are at a higher risk of infection than the general population, which reinforces the importance of the protections already in place.
Fuller details about the precautionary steps now being taken within the facility such as tracking the workers recent movements, and standing down and testing close contacts, will be provided today by the Managed Isolation and Quarantine team.
Staff at the facility regarded as close contacts have been stood down and a deep clean of staff areas at the facility has been completed. All staff at the quarantine facility are being retested over the next 48 hours. That process began last night with 48 staff tested and more are being tested today.
A mobile testing unit will be operating at the quarantine facility today assisting the usual testing service.
PPE is one of a number of protection measures used by staff and a review by the Infection Prevention Control service by the Northern Managed Facilities Quality and Risk team will be carried out to see if the source of the infection can be found and to make recommendations for any additional precautions that should be taken in future.
Ongoing review and improvement has been a key feature of New Zealand’s response to date.
Public Health services continue to investigate the current Auckland cluster. There are 33 cases in the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship group and 15 cases in the bereavement events group, which includes the cases whose source of infection was the bereavement events.
Both groups are working closely with public health staff to manage the outbreak and prevent any further spread. Leaders of the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship have actively encouraged all members of the congregation to get retested for COVID-19 and comply with other public health advice such as self-isolation.
As reported yesterday, 98 per cent of the congregation have now been tested. Similarly, 98% of those attending the bereavement events have now also been tested.
We want to thank them again for their participation in contributing to our efforts to control the wider Auckland cluster.
There are 63 people linked to the community cluster who remain in the Auckland quarantine facility, which includes 38 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their household contacts.
Since August 11, our contact tracing team has identified 3,664 close contacts of cases, of which 3,650 have been contacted and are self-isolating, and we are in the process of contacting the rest.
Today there are three people in hospital with COVID-19 – one is in isolation on a ward in Auckland City Hospital. Two are in ICU, at North Shore and Waikato hospitals.
With today’s two new cases and 13 additional recovered cases, our total number of active cases is 97. Of those, 39 are imported cases in MIQ facilities, and 58 are community cases.
Our total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is now 1,446, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.
Yesterday our laboratories processed 7,211 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 864,469.
There are now 2,199,500 users registered on NZ COVID Tracer.
The app has recorded a total of 55,864,131 poster scans, and users have created 2,804,191 manual diary entries in NZ COVID Tracer.
There have been 368,120 QR codes created to be displayed around the country.