sign uplog in
Want to go ad-free? Find out how, here.

All 16 close contacts of Northland woman return negative COVID-19 tests; 98 departed managed isolation guests still being tracked down for testing

All 16 close contacts of Northland woman return negative COVID-19 tests; 98 departed managed isolation guests still being tracked down for testing
Ashley Bloomfield. Getty Images.

All 16 close contacts of the woman in Northland with COVID-19 have returned negative test results.

255 of the 353 departed guests from the Pullman Hotel, where the woman stayed in managed isolation, have returned negative tests. The remaining 98 guests are still being tracked down for testing. 

All staff at the Pullman Hotel have returned negative results.

Of the 327 people who visited locations the Northland woman visited, 127 have returned negative results.

Authorities couldn't yet say how the Northland woman contracted COVID-19 during her stay in managed isolation.

10,812 tests were processed on Tuesday.

Director-General of Health, Ashely Bloomfield, said the situation was encouraging, but cautioned things were still evolving, so he wasn't breathing out just yet.

Separately, there are four new cases of COVID-19 in managed isolation/quarantine, bringing the total number of active cases up to 68.

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.

29 Comments

NZ is blessed with a closed border, a low pop density and a summer with plenty sunshine.

LOL. NZ is blessed with the media that can question and challenge the authority and keep them in check.

NZ? Challenging media? Huh?

xingm,

And what is China 'blessed' with? An increasingly aggressive and repressive regime with a president for life-just like any banana rebublic in Africa.
We will see an increasing number of countries recoil from the Belt and Road initiative as they see ridiculous loans being unable to be repaid and strategic assets falling into Chinese hands. I forsee that some governments will act to nationalise these assets and turf the Chinese out.

Something seems off with this, a highly contagious strain and no one catches it?

That's my question too. It could be she's only recently become infectious and the husbands virus count was too low to be detected in the first test.
But if none of the close contacts develop the disease, maybe NZers are just really bad a passing it on.
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.08.05.20168930v3

If she did not pass it on to anyone, it's going to cause problems with social compliance with precautions. Who's going to want to scan a QR code only to get stuck in 7 hour (or multi day) traffic queue when no one actually catches the virus from these exposures.

I remain incredulous that this is a) the only detected excursion of a superior variant infectious enough to be passed on through a surface or air vent, but also b) doesn't trigger a chain of transmission despite a tour that takes in a big chunk of Northland and a wee bit of Auckland. At some point you're just throwing money at the roulette wheel at random and still winning every single time.

PCR cycle set too high, picks up viral debris. False positive. Everyone loses their minds. Until next time.

Irony being when it does get out, our community testing and scanning is so bad that we can't get ahead of it and require lockdowns.

I reckon she barely had it. Low viral load, minimal symptoms, feeling well enough to go to a cafe nearly every day!

Even the more contagious strain still has R_0~2, meaning that on average you'd expect a single case to pass on to two others. That's plenty when you're talking about cases running out of control, but not so many if you're thinking about tracking individuals.

The distribution is highly skewed as well, with the average dragged higher by the 20% of infected who cause 80% of spread.

How often do you get the flu in summer?

It's summer is South Africa and Brazil.

I shared this article the other day - with the original strains at least, the majority of people (69%) did not pass on the disease to anyone else. The spread is primarily driven by a minority of super spreaders, particularly at crowded indoor venues. We're very lucky this lady was in the former category.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/09/k-overlooked-variable...

That would be consistent with one person brining the virus home to a household (of roughly 4 people) and infecting the rest of the them. That article is all over the place on how they get that statistic.

There's a distribution to how many other infections each infection leads to. At its simplest you just look at the average (R). But other properties of the distribution are (potentially) important as well, especially if the distribution is skewed.

I have seen a lot of spreading modelling but none that are complex enough not to be explained by one person effecting the rest of a household (and the infector getting symptoms before the others are infectious) or a super spreader infecting a lot of people getting identified and everyone in the cluster getting quarantined. They don't seem helpful beyond confirming the obvious.
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that the disease is really infectious inside a household. This would be especially true under lockdowns.

I'm not quite sure what point you're trying to make. Of course household spread would be an important component, but not necessarily the primary driver. For example, from one of the papers referenced found social spread was more important than household spread (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-1092-0).

The disease may commonly be very infectious in a household, but apparently not in the case of this woman. Again, this study found 69% of people did not pass the disease on to anyone else. Unless this 69% all live alone, that would be evidence that the disease does not necessarily spread to the household if one is infected.

Once one person in a household gets COVID it's almost a given that rest of the household will be exposed to it before the first person is diagnosed with the disease and can be quarantined separately. But the initially infected will most likely develop symptoms before the rest of the household becomes infectious (your infectious only a few days before your symptomatic), resulting in the rest of the household not transmitting it further (everyone gets the disease from the first member and everyone else in the household is infected before they are infectious). In a lockdown scenario most household members will be stuck at home greatly increasing the chance of other members not passing it on. Do you think this arguable or not obvious? It's completely pointless trying to prevent these across the whole population as its unreasonable to social distance here.

The goal should be to prevent the first member of the household being infected. As all the NPIs or social distancing/bubbles are trying to do. How do these models add to this?

Edit: if you look at the paper it just shows the effectiveness of contact tracing. Once one person is diagnosed you can catch up with the rest of their contacts and isolate them before they have a chance to spread it.

You say 'almost a given', but there is a case right here in front of us which goes against that. But, I'm not sure this is too relevant to policy making - whether the whole household gets it automatically or not, the social distancing, bubbles, contact tracing etc are all required. Do you see a problem with the current approach?

Curious to see the evidence you have for assuming all household members will catch it if one does. It seems intuitive and I don't necessarily disagree, just wondering what it's based on.

Every one living in the same household qualifies as a close contact in NZ and more practically sharing multiple meals together would put someone at the highest risk possible. But your right I have have just taken it as a given after hearing high numbers of household transmission and multiple examples of whole families getting it. I guess if your in a flat and no one speaks to each other it might be a lower risk and course children probably wont test positive. In NZ there are not enough house hold members to get to 2/3 who don't spread it further but Asia is a different story. Of course aggressive contact tracing resulting in quarantine will also produce a high percentage who wont transmit it further.

The point is this stat is what you would expect and there is not sufficient evidence to interpret the stats as people who don't transmit the virus further are randomly distributed among cases. Which is what I think you did. If the husband does not end up testing positive, I will internally speculate about the state of the marriage or maybe in NZ we just have high Vitamin D levels during mid summer or something. The article on Sunday said she went and got a test as soon as her symptoms worsened so it maybe early days for the other close contacts.

I think the context is critical. we don't have an ongoing outbreak.

Yeah that was my first thought, its not possible to come in close contact with that many people and not pass it on so either the tests are unreliable or those people need a second test in 2 weeks time or straight away if they show symptoms.

Also the government will be trying to play this down as the consequences are are all bad. Australia slammed us almost overnight for starters. The public will not tolerate another lockdown, we have had a year to get organized with this and even had time to build a dedicated quarantine facility but as it would appear this government cannot even build standard houses there is no chance of that happening.

They mustn't be a touchy feely family if her husband hasn't caught it at least.

Will Scott Morrison re-open quarantine-free flights to Australia again for kiwis now?

NZ was very lucky this time, the next time could be disastrous, remember ONE case in Italy started the covid pandemic in Italy, look at the result.. the americold covid in Auckland could have also been very disastrous as well. The scary part, is we still DO NOT know the source. The border needs to close, or MIQ facilities need tightening up , like Australia, they STAY in a LOCKED room until a negative test, NO EXCEPTIONS simple as that. This virus is a deadly enemy to New Zealand in every way.

I like your use of CAPITALS.... very DRAMATIC!

What do you mean THIS TIME we are a few days into what could be another level 4 event, its way to early to tell. Now its weeks of testing and weeks after that with no new community cases before we are declared safe again. Each time this gets out its at least a month of uncertainty and disruption to your daily life. My mother shops in Orewa so had to call her this morning to tell her to stay at home for at least a few days to see what direction this is heading in.