Auckland CBD can reopen; Auckland Covid case linked to managed isolation worker; Case's three close contacts test negative; Mask wearing on public transport in Auckland to become mandatory

Auckland CBD can reopen; Auckland Covid case linked to managed isolation worker; Case's three close contacts test negative; Mask wearing on public transport in Auckland to become mandatory

What you need to know from today’s Covid-19 briefing:

- New Zealand to remain at Alert Level 1.

- Auckland CBD can re-open. Events can take place. 

- The Auckland student who tested positive to Covid-19 has been linked through genomic sequencing to a Defence Force staff member with Covid-19, who worked at the Jet Park managed isolation facility. Officials are still trying to figure out how the virus was transmitted.

- The student’s three close contacts - someone they worked with and two friends - have tested negative to Covid-19.

- There are no new community cases today. 

- Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins will take an order to Cabinet on Monday that seeks to require all public transport users in Auckland to wear masks.

- Hipkins will explore ways of ensuring better use of the Covid-19 tracer app, including potentially making it mandatory for people to sign in to certain places - IE if they’re attending a big public gathering.

- Those who visited the same locations as the student are being asked to get tested, even if they don’t have symptoms. Locations include: Mezze Bar, Smith and Caughey's, Red Pig Restaurant, Starbucks Queen Street, Sunnytown Restaurant, The Gateau House, AUT Student Hub, Auckland City Doctors, A-Z Collection and the Vincent Residences. See this page on the official government Covid-19 site for times and dates. 

- Vigilance, use of the app, masks, hand-washing, etc are being urged.

- Hipkins reminds employers to allow sick workers to stay home. 

Here's a press release from the Ministry of Health:

There are four cases of COVID-19 to report in New Zealand today, all in managed isolation. 

One involves a recent arrival and three are classified as historical.  

There are no new cases in the community.  

Firstly, we want to provide an update around the Auckland community case announced yesterday.  

It’s really encouraging news that overnight, whole genome sequencing from this case has indicated an identical genetic profile to the sequence found in the Auckland managed isolation worker we’ve been referring to as Case A.  

In addition to this, testing of three close contacts have come back negative – a work contact and two social contacts.  

Now we have this information, we can have greater assurance around the nature of this case. 

Working with our public health officials in Auckland, we are now investigating the source of any potential link between the movements of these two cases, people they may have met or places they may have visited.  

Testing 

Yesterday there was increased demand for testing across Auckland’s testing network - this includes Community Testing Centres, general practice and urgent care clinics. The two pop-ups in the central city were busy yesterday and it’s the same today. 

Four additional testing stations have been stood up; City Centre Community Testing Centre; Victoria Park Community Testing Centre; The Doctors QuayMed Britomart Community Testing Centre and Wynyard Quarter Carpark Community Testing Centre.  

Existing Community Testing Centres and GP Clinics around the greater Auckland area continue to provide testing services and report steady volumes.  

A full list of testing sites in Auckland is available on the Auckland Regional Public Health Service website.  

Anyone in the Auckland area, and indeed throughout New Zealand, who has cold or flu symptoms should get a test and stay at home until you have a negative test result. 

In addition to the testing advice provided yesterday which  remains current, we are now asking that if people were in Auckland CBD at locations of interest,  they get a test regardless of symptoms. Currently, these locations include: 

•        Mezze Bar on 5 November  
•        Liquor.Com bottle store, Queen Street on 5 November
•        Red Pig Restaurant on 7 November  
•        Smith and Caughey’s Queen Street on 7 November
•        Sunny Town China Taste Restaurant on 8 and 9 November  
•        Starbucks Queen Street on 8 and 9 November
•        The Gateau House on 8 November
•        A-Z Collection on 8, 9, 11 November
•        The Vincent, 7-12 November
•        Auckland City Doctors on 10 November  
•        AUT Student Hub on 10 November

This is an enhanced surveillance tactic to ensure we are not missing any cases who maybe asymptomatic. 

Auckland DHB is also continuing to closely monitor demand and capacity for testing outside the CBD.  For example, there are a number of urgent care and after-hours clinics in Botany available for testing and a CTC will open in Botany tomorrow. 

There will also be a CTC open in West Auckland through the weekend, in addition to the two CTCs open regularly in West Auckland on weekdays. 

Push notifications  

Yesterday, the Ministry sent out 11 push notifications relating to seven locations visited by the latest confirmed case.  

As of 10am this morning, 51 NZ COVID Tracer app users have received contact alerts from these notifications. 

The contact alerts for A-Z Collection, the Vincent Residences and Red Pig Restaurant advised app users to isolate and call Healthline to arrange a test. 

The alerts for the other four locations advised app users to contact Healthline if they develop any COVID-19 symptoms. 

Numbers 

In our regular details, there are four cases to announce today, one recent arrival and 3 historical cases.  

The recent arrival arrived from the Philippines via Hong Kong on 31 October. They tested positive at around day 12 routine testing and are now in the Auckland quarantine facility.  

Of the three historical cases:  1 returned from Mexico in October. Their day 12 test was positive, but they remained asymptomatic and had a high Ct value. We now believe this case to be consistent with an earlier overseas infection. They are now classified as recovered.   1 arrived from Los Angeles in October. Their day 12 test was positive, but they remained asymptomatic and had a high Ct value. We now believe this case to be consistent with an earlier overseas infection. They are now classified as recovered.   1 additional case returned a high Ct value and is classified as recovered

Four previously reported cases have now recovered, meaning our total number of active cases remains at 53.   

Our total number of confirmed cases is now 1,639.   

Yesterday our laboratories completed 7,226 tests for COVID-19, bringing our total number of tests completed to date to 1,162,740. 

NZ COVID Tracer 

There are now 2,353,100 registered users of the NZ COVID Tracer app. 

Poster scans have reached 113,412,688 and there have been 4,719,293 manual diary entries. 

From our stats, we can see that fewer than one in six of the 2.3 million users registered with the app are using it daily.    

It remains incredibly important we all scan the QR codes wherever we see them, as the more we all scan, the safer we’ll all be. 

We can’t afford to get complacent – we’ve seen that despite our robust border controls the virus can emerge anywhere in the community at any time. 

Taking a few seconds to scan in with the app means we can quickly inform you when you may have been exposed to the virus, so you can take steps to protect yourself and your whanau. 

It also means if you test positive for the virus, you can instantly provide your digital diary to contact tracers to give them a massive head-start. 

The faster we can contact trace, the quicker we can get ahead of the virus and prevent spread in the community.    

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.

32 Comments

Looks like we got lucky.

Again.

Yeah fingers crossed. If they get them early like this they are easy to control. Looks like I better wash my masks over the weekend.

To Chris Hipkins.. I found it particularly galling to hear you saying "it is not their fault" when referring to the 4 community cases. A Defence Force staffer met with a Jet Park worker then flew back to Wgtn while not wearing a mask at any stage. The stupidity of such inaction is beyond belief and I hold them totally responsible for such a flagrant violation of common sense and consideration for others, not to mention dereliction of duty. They deserve to be condemned in the strongest possible language.
Such irresponsible behaviour will be called out and rather than attempting to protect staff you are responsible for from personal criticism you might want to focus more on protecting the public.
Shame on you and the Defence Force staffer who deliberately placed our freedom in danger. The only person I am more upset with than the idiot staffer is YOU. I wish we could put you both in the stocks.

Wow.. get over yourself.

Sorry. How stupid of me to expect Public Servants to use their brains, keep us safe and accept responsibility for their (non) actions.

No Hook - he's one hundred percent correct - what do you disagree with?

Well, I might disagree with the stocks bit.

Have a beer and relax

Ok Karl Marx

You righties eh? Who's over there.....oh yeah, the National Party, Act, Trump, fascism, qanon, individualism wrecking the world, rich oligarchs ruining democracy, climate denialism, conspiracy theories deliberately spread to sow chaos, white supremacists, neoliberalism.

Yep.

Hipkins & PM have a problem.

They can both pull levers of public health.
That's stuff like making sure flu vaccine is available when people present, and making sure the covid app works, they know how many alerts have been pushed out etc.

They can't protect the population on an individual basis, while those individuals are in the general population.
This is the problem, the effect of their messaging is that they do just that.
KS, the problem is not of your making.

# activists do terrible public policy, administration & governance.

Thanks for ranting.

Henry thinks he can do a better job

- The Auckland student who tested positive to Covid-19 has been linked through genomic sequencing to a Defence Force staff member with Covid, who worked at the Jet Park managed isolation facility.
They have the same version of the virus. How did it pass from one to the other?

Dr Siouxsie Wiles made a suggestion it may have been surface contact via a cafe they both frequented - rare but possible

Like the rubbish bin and the lift...
All unverified.
Or unknown, the Americold cluster......

The answer may lie in the human condition.

Are you suggesting selective amnesia?

Yet to be verified, Stuff offering a big serve (not shout out) to the City of Sails Contact Tracers..

https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/300158205/covid19-shop...

She also agreed to a contact tracing interview but the language barrier meant staff made various errors, the statement alleges.

“Due to the language barrier (My first language is Mandarin, this statement will be translated to English), the staff made many errors in recording my previous whereabouts, actions, and contacts.

Hey gum, meet boot.

Feel free to share. Could that really happen and the public has no right to know? Move along, nothing to see here.

Feel free to share. Could that really happen and the public has no right to know? Move along, nothing to see here.

I still can't get over the incredible coincidence that the infected student just happened to live next to a completely different isolation facility, that appears to have no relation to their infection.

An infected intermediate case? Testing numbers are low, so unless we do significant testing , we won't find all cases. The problem is too many people still think it is just a 'cold'. But the fact is that there aren't many cold and flu case at the moment, so everyone must get tested who has symptoms.

I guess their could be a missing link in the chain? I hope that missing link isn't a party animal.

About time they make Masks mandatory. It should be on all public transport in NZ along with much greater force of people signing in on the app. Other than staying at home if sick, those are the only things we need to do to stay in Level 1 its not hard!

Explain how you'd force people to use the app? It's not foolproof and it has been admitted that several times the notifications have been non existent

You guys are all about personal responsibility - this falls under that. It's right up your alley.

Got any empirical evidence?

I don't count your feelings as a calibrated remote sensor, with data peer reviewed.

Thank God for that.
The woman sounds like a real introvert which is lucky.

On the latest case, someone is clearly telling a porky. I bet it's the employer, who has pressured the student.

Yeah, the step-down from the student reeked of pressure from her bosses.