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5 new Covid-19 cases - 3 in the community, 1 unlinked; Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship church goers encouraged to get tested; Public transport providers to be required to display QR codes

5 new Covid-19 cases - 3 in the community, 1 unlinked; Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship church goers encouraged to get tested; Public transport providers to be required to display QR codes
Ashley Bloomfield. Getty Images.

There are five new cases of Covid-19 today - three in the community and two caught in managed isolation.

The source of one of the community cases is still under investigation.

There are nine people in hospital - three of whom are in intensive care.

Director-General of Health Ashely Bloomfield said there have been five cases in recent days connected to the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship church.

He noted they attended services on August 8, 9 and 11, and a wedding on August 7.

Bloomfield urged those connected to the church to get tested. 

The Ministry of Health later in the day added: "Anyone who attended these events and who is currently unwell, or has experienced any signs of Covid-19 in the past two weeks, should contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 and let them know that you attended one of these events. They will provide further advice."

Bloomfield said the church cluster wasn’t at this stage epidemiologically linked to the Auckland cluster, but expected a link to be found. 

A person in a critical condition in North Shore Hospital, as well as a person who had Covid-19 before coming to New Zealand, remain unlinked. Bloomfield on Tuesday said he was worried about the North Shore case, which popped up expectedly.  

Health Minister Chris Hipkins said it will become mandatory for all public transport, including ride-sharing services, to display QR codes from September 3.

Here is a press release from the Ministry of Health:

There are a total of five new confirmed cases of COVID-19 to report in New Zealand today.

Two are new imported cases.

There are three community cases, two are contacts of cases known to be part of the outbreak. One of these is under investigation.

An additional case reported yesterday as a household contact is now under investigation. Genome sequencing is underway.

These cases bring our total number of confirmed cases to 1,344, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 134, of which 21 are imported cases from managed isolation facilities.

The imported cases include a female in her 50s who arrived in New Zealand 13 August  and a male in his 30s who arrived 21 August. Further information on these cases will be provided as it comes to hand. Both are being transferred to a quarantine facility.

By this morning our contact tracing team had identified 2,422 close contacts of cases, of which 2,368 have been contacted and are self-isolating, and we are in the process of contacting the rest.

There is one area of interest that we are mentioning today.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service can confirm that five people associated with the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship church have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

We would ask that anyone who attended the following events get tested as soon as possible:
·        Services held at the church in Stoddard Road on the 8th, 9th or 11th of   August
·        A wedding held at the church on Friday 7 August.

Anyone who attended these events and who is currently unwell, or has experienced any signs of COVID-19 in the past two weeks, should contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 and let them know that you attended one of these events. They will provide further advice.

There are 163 people linked to the cluster who have been moved into the Auckland quarantine facility. This includes 90 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their household contacts.

There are nine people receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19 and all of these are part of the Auckland community outbreak.

An additional person connected to the community outbreak remains in Waikato Hospital hospitalised, but not as a direct result of COVID-19.

There are two patients in Auckland City Hospital, both are stable and in isolation on a ward.

There are three patients in North Shore Hospital, two are stable in isolation on a ward; one is stable in ICU.

There are four patients with COVID-19 in Middlemore Hospital. Two are stable and each of these is in isolation on a ward.  Two are in ICU and are critical.  

Hospitals in Auckland continue to manage COVID-19 patients using appropriate infection prevention and control – our hospitals remain safe for patients, visitors and staff.

Testing

Laboratories completed 8,559 tests yesterday, bringing our total tests to date to 710,063.

The Auckland regional DHBs are increasing their mobile and pop-up testing sites again and we really encourage people to go along.

Today and tomorrow there are pop-up testing sites at Ranui Library carpark; Randwick Park School; Taka He Monu (Tongan Methodist Church) and Mt Smart Stadium.

The pop-up sites complement other CTCs across the Auckland region and will move to other communities every 2-3 days.

There will be some community testing of asymptomatic people in specific communities and DHBs are ensuring testing is readily available there.

This testing forms part of our surveillance programme to help ensure we have identified the full extent of the current outbreak.

People can also get testing at their GPs. This is the same around the whole country.

People who have symptoms of COVID-19, or who are concerned about potential exposure, should continue to seek advice from their GP or Healthline on getting a test.

COVID Tracer

The number of people registered is now 1,834,800, which is over 45.2 % of the population 15 years and over.

We have been really encouraged to see the uptake of the app – it is great that New Zealanders are clearly aware of the importance of keeping a record of their movements. These recent cases have shown us that the ability to be able to quickly trace and isolate contacts of cases is key to stamping out this virus.

There have been an average of 1.4 million scans every day for the past 7 days.

The number of QR codes being created has reduced significantly over the last three days, indicating that almost all New Zealand businesses now have their QR codes in place.

NZ Defence authorisation

The Director-General of Health has authorised some of the functions and powers of enforcement officers to members of the New Zealand Armed Forces.  

This authorisation applies only to those Defence personnel supporting Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facilities.

The Director-General has already authorised three classes of persons as enforcement officers under section 18 of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020. Those classes of people are: WorkSafe inspectors; Aviation Security officers; and Customs officers.

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.

49 Comments

Testing. A quick test:
Who said what, imagine who were the people to make the following comments?

1. "testing is a back stop" and prevention work was the main focus.

2. testing is a key part of managing the risk Covid-19 presents. Regular testing needs to be part of our new normal and anyone with flu-like symptoms should be getting tested.

3. "There is only one source of truth,"

Answer:
1. Minister for Education, 15th August 2020.
2. Minister for Health, 25th August 2020.
3. Minister for State Services, 15th August 2020.

Perfect Part-time Performance.
Multi tasking or Multi personality.

10
up

I mean yeah, if you take quotes out of context, which is exactly what you've done, they can be made to look like they contradict each other.

Wow. Groundbreaking revelation.

What is the context you are imagining

And how do you feel the 3 mentioned, out of context.

I'm not "imagining" context. These things were said at 1pm briefings. You've taken single sentences out of larger paragraphs and isolated them to make them look like they contradict each other, when actually they're talking about testing in different contexts.

If you had some intellectual honesty you would excerpt the entire question and answer from which you mined each of these quotes and let us make our own judgements about what they mean.

.... Testing in different contexts..

What are those contexts you are thinking and seeing there?

Go provide quotes for the full question and answer and you'll find out.

Thanks you say they are out of context, while being unable to say how they are out of context.

You & I do share one thing.

Its a part time Minister for Health who is floundering.
Floundering & conflicted.
Evidence the judgement exercised in taking on Health that decision to be a part time Health Minister, delivers a critical blow to the Education portfolio and advocacy for children & lockdowns.

Really Henry? How about a ministry and a public service so entrenched in a delivery based on a neo liberal model that just doesn't deliver only being able to delivery spin rather than results?

Can you expand a little on this.
And include the elements of covid response you are talking to.

And how that relates to the wisdom of having one individual atop, health education, state services and house leader. In the time of pandemic.
Wisdom of those thinking it a fine idea & wisdom of that individual to accept multiple simultaneous responsibilities.

Still much uncertainty (e.g. unconfirmed link case today) but looking positive that this outbreak could be contained.
The risk of multiple cluster outbreaks remains exceptionally high which requires support from all - unfortunately signs that we are becoming increasingly divided and highly polarized regarding this.
Multiple clusters risk losing hope of containment.

The probability of losing containment is close to 1. All containment efforts will be futile. 98 to 99% of cases are mild or have no symptoms at all. Who cares if there are 1 or 2 or 10 or 100 cases. Reduce transmission, protect the elderly, and get on with running the economy, and getting tourism up and running again. I've posted it before but here's the English Garden in Munich taken last Friday https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osCJ9xmBO6E

Definitely very German. Was thankful I didn’t see a Weiner.

A pity we don't have the health system to support herd immunity, so it will likely quickly become overwhelmed with not enough ICU capacity. Not that herd immunity will work anyway, because people are now becoming reinfected again.

pity that that some of the millions of dollars wasted on hotel quarantines weren't invested in ICU beds. Herd immunity is already working in Sweden, New York, Germany etc.. Also I haven't seen any evidence that reinfection either happens or is a problem.

I don’t get how it can be contained. Those church people must have caught it ages ago if they got it at church (there shouldn’t have been anything on there since lockdown). They have probably been to supermarkets, dairies, gas stations, etc since. They were probably at the supermarket handling all the fruit and veg before I went the other day!

How many Pasifika in Auckland: 200,000
How many in S Auckland: 120,000 in 2018
Est number tested so far? 20,000
Tested in NZ so far: 700,000.
Positive tests: about 1350
So, of NZ pop, 14% have been tested. Except really its of adult pop isn't it: so 3.2 m adults, so that is 21.87%

If really want to know rate of infection, then testing people who just turn up (ie volunteer) is not going to work.
You need to test a stratified sample, repeatedly. They don't do this. Why not?
It looks to me that no one understands social scientific stratified sampling.
testing whoever turns up does not tell you anything except the rate amount those who CAME to be tested.
Did you see the testing centre on One News in S Auckland this morning? No cars. 25 people had come at that time, since it opened.
Setting a 70,000 test target is useless. How are you going to ensure it is met?

700,000 tested - but being tested once months ago doesn't mean you are any less at risk during a resurgence. I'd say all testing prior to the confirmed presence of this cluster (31st July for when case 1 started showing symptoms) are essentially irrelevant and this is the message they really need to push.

The solution is simple: pay people to get tested! Government is handing out money for pretty much everything else, so may as well do it for getting tested too!

A better solution would be to stop testing all together! Its just wasting money and stoking fear.

You need to test a stratified sample, repeatedly. They don't do this. Why not?

1. Because under the human rights act in NZ you cannot be forced to submit to a medical procedure, such as a COVID-19 test
2. Not everyone has the same contact with the community. Someone who is in a rest home or hospital 24/7 doesn't present the same risk to spreading the disease to others, but is a sitting duck if the virus gets into their place of residence.

If really want to know rate of infection

No one is particularly interested in the "rate" of infection. We're interested in finding everyone who is currently infected and stopping that from spreading to others. The 'rate' merely gives you an indication of how effective we've been at stopping the spread, but itself is not actually a useful metric for stopping the spread.

Setting a 70,000 test target is useless. How are you going to ensure it is met?

First step is to decide what you're aiming for. Next step is to roll out measures to meet your target. Targets of 7,000 vs 70,000 vs 700,000 have very different "next steps" required, but if you don't bother setting a target how do you know what "next step" you need to take? So, setting a target is not "useless" as you claim.

"The 'rate' merely gives you an indication of how effective we've been at stopping the spread, but itself is not actually a useful metric for stopping the spread."

Well if we don't know if we're stopping the spread "effectively", does that not undermine the whole idea of a pandemic response?

The rate is the number of cases per head of population. In terms of "boots on the ground" and what you do to respond to a pandemic, if there are 100 cases in a population of 1000 people, or 100 cases in a population of 100,000 people, there isn't a lot of difference: the boots on the ground response with contact tracers and testing focusses on those 100 people and their immediate contacts and gets them into isolation and testing etc.

Knowing that 10% of your population, or 0.1% of your population is infected with COVID-19 helps you measure your overal success (based on whether the number is climbing or falling), but doesn't change what you should actually be doing to slow the spread of the illness. It may help you decide whether you should bother trying to slow the spread, and what particular steps might be most effective. But in NZ since we've kept our total infections down, and have a strategy in place to continue to do this, knowing that the rate of infection in our whole population is 0.15% or perhaps 0.025% or actually 0.026% doesn't make any difference to our approach.

That's why no one is particularly interested in "the rate" of infections, except so they can compare themselves to other countries and/or brag about it.

It may not change our approach but it will be vital in determining success given we have taken the elimination route for the virus and assessing the speed, and therefore risk, of inevitable future outbreaks.

No, elimination means 0. If we have 0 cases we know we've achieved it. The rate is irrelevant at that point. That's what I'm saying - the OP asked "why aren't they doing testing to find out what the rate is" and my answer is that "the rate" doesn't matter for what we're doing, hence why they aren't doing testing to find out that metric.

I'd say that 20k estimate is low, given they've done 100-150k tests in Auckland in the past few weeks.

18
up

Well I think what we can learn from todays case information is;

1. Stop going to Church
2. Don't ever get married
3. Enter West Auckland at your peril

BB

In the words of Meatloaf... 2 out of 3 ain't bad... right?

Churches are a nightmare for spreading wuflu. One church superspreader created thousands of cases in South Korea. Really hope the congregants put science ahead of faith in this instance (problematic with zealous charismatic churches). Given 2 weeks since lockdown and normal 5-6 days between infection and symptoms it seems likely that these infections were after the lockdown.

it is churches and gay clubs there ..

The big question remains, what happens on Sunday night if daily new cases are still arriving at the current rate, say 5 to 10. Based on that the government has indicated a relaxation of level 3 for Auckland. But if they continue with level 3, then that means they should have said that the relaxation would only happen if the then present daily numbers were dropping off . Politically the government may have just painted themselves into a corner? It’s getting to be too confusing. Don’t think Auckland, the electorate(s) of greatest political sway, will happily accept level 3 continuing. Quite the opposite.

They painted themselves into the corner ages ago. Now they are standing on one foot with sploshes of sneaky covid19 paint on their shoe.

They gave specific dates of church events, all before lockdown. Long incubation, remember.

Average incubation is only 5-6 days. only the longest about 12-14. 4 congregants testing sick now would have been (on average) infected less than 2 weeks ago, otherwise they would have to have been symptomatic for a week or more before getting a positive test. That seems unlikely.

same in NSW , it might be the having to sit next to each other for a long time , that and that people go to church no matter if they have flu
it is a classic place where masks and social distancing should be easy enough to implement ,
no mask no entry and two seats between bubbles and every second row empty, obviously less people would be able to attend

I don't think anyone should be blamed here. Any mass gathering would cause spread, rugby games, concert. You can name it. To be a superspreader, it's more about that person's health condition and age, it doesn't matter that whether he goes to church or not. The real one we need to keep accountable with is the government. Those infectious people don't know the virus has got in again later July / early August. Didn't we eradicate the community spread after the first lockdown? how could this second outbreak happen? What's so hard to put a strict border control in place? With that many cases escaped quarantine facility in last couple of months, we'd be lucky that we only have single digit number cases each day. And if the government really concerns about second wave, why not asking people to wear masks at the first place?

""Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship church goers encouraged to get tested;""

What do you mean, encouraged.? how about mandated as a confirmed vector

""Public transport providers to be required to display QR codes""
Well, Duhh... obviously, since any business where the public come and go is mandated to do this, it doesnt mean putting one on the office door at AT offices, AT's point of contact is at the door of the bus surely.?

you would think they would set up a pop up testing there and the church minister call them all take a test

I wonder where god is? Maybe god has covid. But seriously it's up to real people to co-operate if we are to beat this thing. If you think you may have come in to contact or feel crook get tested and self isolate.

Yes, but what QR code do you put on a bus? Is it tied to the bus number? The route of the bus? Busses are used for different routes sometimes, do you need to have someone update the QR poster each day? What if they make a mistake and the wrong QR code is displayed and then the data is all misleading?

These are questions that have to be worked through. Too many people think it's "obvious" and "easy" to do this stuff, but actually work has to be done in order for the solution to be of any actual use.

the QR would have to be allocated to the bus number, it is easy enough to check back each day for driver and route,
most despatch software nowadays has all the info you need to track which bus went on which route
i am not sure it would do much more than hop card tracking though for trains or buses, my hop card has my travel history on it
maybe only pick up those causal uses, or unregistered hop cards
would be more benefical taxi's in my mind, with uber they can supply tracking info

Calm down everyone. Unless you are over 80 years old, you have less than a .0026% chance of dying of covid. More chance of dying everytime you eat chicken or drive your car, take a swim, or.....etc. I would be more worried about the chances of finding yourself or your relatives in a line for food parcels within the next year or two. Probably more chance of that happening. I see the MSM continues to ignore the elephant in the room...the impending worldwide depression coming after all the job subsidies and mortgage holidays ....and banksters run out of money.

some people are dying with no health conditions and it is a very infectious disease, as for running out of money do you not understand what QE is, money is created so you can never run out it is not linked to anything now the gold standard was done away with years ago.
yes the asset rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-age-sex-demographics/
those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart and lung problems, diabetes, or cancer, are at higher risk of developing serious illness.
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question...

QE is a bond swap. No actual increase of the money supply has occurred.

4. Is QE the same as printing money?
Yes, it is, to the extent that most “money” these days is electronic and the
Reserve Bank buys the bonds with money that it has created via an electronic
account entry.
Quantitative easing, also known as QE, is the process by which the RBA uses its cash reserves (aka printing money) to buy government bonds. ... So with the RBA set to buy billions of dollars worth of government bonds, the government is given a lot more cash to spend and this extra money is flushed through the economy.

this is the question though will the government forgive itself on its own debt
Hon Paul Goldsmith: Sorry, so he won't rule out cancelling or writing off any Government debt that has been bought by the Reserve Bank? Is that his answer?
Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: It is not my intention to write off any of that debt.
Hon Paul Goldsmith: Just clarifying: rather than his intentions, will he rule out cancelling or writing off any Government debt that has been bought by the Reserve Bank, as long as he is the Minister of Finance?
Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: I am ruling that out, yes.

Which is an odd thing to say. Once this thing subsides, we would do well to forgive the debt in line with the behaviour of other countries and follow the resulting movement of currency. Printing money and forgiving debt is theoretically not so bad if everyone else is doing it. But when you are doing it alone it can be problematic.

"O brave new world, that has such people in 't"

Please show your source or how you arrived at a figure of .0026% chance of dying of Covid-19. If you look at this article by microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles I refer to the table that shows Covid-19 Infection Fatality Rate vs Automobile and non Automobile accidental deaths, for my age 54 it is 0.7% for Covid, 0.01% for car accident death and 0.04% for non auto accident. https://sciblogs.co.nz/infectious-thoughts/2020/08/18/they-say-learn-to-...

The simple state of being alive confers a death rate of 100%.

Days to the General Election: 21
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.