There have been no further Covid cases reported in the community; since Sunday there have been 25,000 tests; the vaccinators get vaccinated on Friday

There have been no further Covid cases reported in the community; since Sunday there have been 25,000 tests; the vaccinators get vaccinated on Friday

There have been no further Covid cases in the community.

Another three cases in managed isolation have been reported.

Minister of Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield provided the update on Thursday.

Bloomfield said the fact there were no further positive tests "provides continued reassurance".

He said 25,000 tests had been done since Sunday.

In terms of Papatoetoe High School, Bloomfield said that all of the close contacts of one of the original cases - other than the one positive test reported on Wednesday - had come back negative. Of the 1490 casual-plus contacts at the school, 1398 had tested negative, with 91 results still to come.

In terms of LSG Sky Chefs, where the assumed first case worked in the laundry, all nine laundry contacts had tested negative. Testing had been extended out to another 444 employees of the company, including contractors and so far there had been 350 negatives with the rest of the results still pending.

Bloomfield said while an open mind was being retained about the source of this outbreak, the most likely scenario was still seen as exposure to the virus by the original case in the 'Auckland Airport precinct'.

Genomic sequencing had thrown up some similarities with a positive case from the Four Points by Sheraton isolation facility in Auckland and this was being check out, but seen as an unlikely source of this outbreak.

Hipkins said a "dry run" in Auckland and Christchurch had been held on Wednesday ahead of the start of vaccination for 12,000 of New Zealand's border workers over the weekend.

As a very first step, the 'vaccinators' - the 100 people who would be doing these vaccinations - would themselves be vaccinated on Friday.

Hipkins issued the following statement:

A dry run of the end-to-end process shows New Zealand’s COVID-19 vaccination programme is ready to roll from Saturday, when the first border workers will receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says.

“The trial run took place in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch yesterday afternoon, ahead of the vaccination programme formally kicking off on Saturday,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Officials have been working on logistics for months, and the dry run gave them an opportunity to stress test the system, identify any gaps and put plans in place for any event.

“Inevitably, there will be some challenges with logistics as we mount the biggest vaccination campaign in our history. The system we’ve set up for phase 1 – vaccinating the border workers – is robust and flexible, but the more planning we do the better the outcome will be, as we continue to scale up the system.

“Testing included things such as vaccines being dropped and technology systems being temporarily unavailable, and included the arrival of a thermal protection box used to transport the vaccine to validate the safe and secure handover process.

“The final steps in preparing for the first border workers to receive their vaccines on Saturday and for the start of the overall programme, will include the vaccinators who will vaccinate the border workers receiving the vaccines themselves. This will take place tomorrow,” Chris Hipkins said. 

“While our workforce modelling shows we only need 100 vaccinators to immunise everyone who works at our border, we already have more than that who have completed the necessary training to administer the Pfizer vaccines, and hundreds more set to complete it in coming weeks.”

The Ministry of Health put out this release:

Today we are reporting 3 cases of COVID-19 in managed isolation.

There are no new cases in the community outside of the 3 cases announced yesterday.

For formal reporting figures, the sixth community case (Case F) is included in our numbers today.

Auckland February cases

No further cases in the community provides continued reassurance that our swift, all of system response continues to be a highly effective reaction to the Auckland February cases.

The three cases we announced yesterday, (D, E and F), from the second family household group have all now been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility

Contact tracing and test results

Contact tracing has identified 135 close contacts associated to all six cases. Of these, 103 of the close contacts have returned a negative test and 28 are pending.

As at 11.30am this morning, a total of 31 close contacts and 1,490 casual plus contacts have been identified at Papatoetoe High School. This is a drop from yesterday as further investigation has confirmed some were not a contact.

Of the 31 school close contacts, 30 have returned negative results, with one positive result (Case D).

Of the casual plus contacts (that is other students and staff at the school), 1398 have returned negative results, there was one positive (Case E), and 91 results are to come.

We do remind all students and staff at the school to please stay home and isolate until receiving a negative test. School is expected to return on Monday 22 February. Close contacts at the school will not return until 24 February and must return a second negative test before doing so.

As part of our source investigation, LSG Sky Chef staff have also been tested.

All nine contacts in the laundry have returned negative results.  Of the 444 people in the wider working environment, 350 are negative and 93 results are pending (1 positive, Case B).

Investigations will continue today into the three community cases announced yesterday, including further interviews with contact tracing staff. As a result, a potential increase in the number of locations of interest, close and casual plus contacts is not unexpected.

The priority is for close contacts and close casual contacts to be tested so we can understand any risk in the community.

For the latest information on locations of interest, and to understand if you are a casual or close contact, please see here

Source investigation

At this stage all scenarios for likely infection sources are being thoroughly investigated including the school, the workplace and a managed isolation facility as potential sources of infection.  

Case B’s worksite continues to be the most likely source of the infection, but we are leaving no stone unturned and other scenarios are being considered though all are considered unlikely. It is not uncommon for a source to not be definitely identified.  

ESR has been reviewing all of the UK B.1.1.7 variants that have shown up in New Zealand over the last two months, that work shows there is no direct match with the genome in this case.

However, for completeness, we have decided to review other cases that have a similar genome. The closest one we have on record relates to a case from December at the Four Points by Sheraton managed isolation facility in Auckland.

While ESR have advised us this is an unlikely source, guests and their household contacts who were at the facility in late December have been contacted to get either a PCR or serology test if they have had any symptoms since leaving the facility.  

As said health officials do not consider this a likely source of infection at this stage but are actively chasing down every line of enquiry in order to ensure completeness of our investigations and so we can confidently rule out possibilities in order to narrow our focus.  

Testing centres

More than 25 thousand tests have been performed across Auckland since Sunday. Today, community testing centres in Auckland are reporting increased demand, with queues at the Otara, Wiri and Botany testing sites.

For up-to-date information on testing locations in metro Auckland, visit www.arphs.health.nz/covid19test.

For up to date info on all testing locations nationwide, visit www.healthpoint.co.nz/covid-19/

It’s important the right people can get access to testing — so please don’t rush to a centre if you are well, or if you weren’t at one of the locations of interest.

If you were at the locations of interest at the times stated, you need to get a test, and remain isolated until you receive the result.

If you have symptoms but have not been to a location of interest stay home and call Healthline for advice. A COVID-19 test is free wherever you go.

Face masks

Just a reminder that at Alert Level 1 and Alert Level 2 it is now mandatory for everyone to wear a mask on public transport. This includes all domestic flights, buses, trains, and ferries except for the larger Cook Strait ferries. Children under 12 are exempt.

The decision on the use of face masks will be reviewed on Monday.

New border case details

Arrival date From Via Positive test day/reason Managed isolation/quarantine location
09 Feb United Kingdom Ireland and UAE Around day 7 / close contact Auckland
09 Feb United Kingdom Ireland and UAE Around day 7 / close contact Auckland
13 Feb India UAE Around day 3 / routine testing Auckland

Seven previously reported cases have now recovered. The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 46. Our total number of confirmed cases is 1,988.

The total number of tests processed by laboratories to date is 1,629,853.

On Wednesday, 16,640 tests were processed. The seven-day rolling average up to yesterday is 8,023 tests processed.

Historical cases  

Since January 1, there have now been 29 historical cases, out of a total of 178 cases.

NZ COVID Tracer

NZ COVID Tracer now has 2,649,721 registered users.

Poster scans have reached 184,485,000 and users have created 7,538,005 manual diary entries.

It’s critical to keep track of where you’ve been and the COVID Tracer app is an easy way to do this. Please continue to scan QR codes wherever you go and turn on Bluetooth tracing in the app dashboard if you haven’t already done so.

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

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5 Comments

It's clear the government now has full confidence in their ability to track and halt an incursion.

About time.

I'm glad they do. I'm not sure I do. Even if vaccinations start Saturday, it's still a few weeks to get them done and then a little bit after that to take affect. At this rate, we are likely to have at least one more incursion into the community before that time frame is over - a community that is still months away from being vaccinated en masse. We can only ride our luck so many times with this.

We will happily lockdown almost every business and the entire city or country for 3 people but keep bringing the same number of infected people into the country every day

Yea because GDP remember?

"Of the casual plus contacts, 1159 have returned negative results, there is one positive, and 363 are outstanding" late this afternoon
Can't vouch for this statement from MSM on Papatoetoe HS. Still waiting for results!!!! Its Thursday already. As far as i can recall Papatoetoe HS testing started on Monday, at the latest Tues.