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Health workers to start being vaccinated this month; No new cases of COVID-19 in the community; 154 'casual plus' contacts identified from City Fitness

Health workers to start being vaccinated this month; No new cases of COVID-19 in the community; 154 'casual plus' contacts identified from City Fitness

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says frontline non-border health workers will start being vaccinated this month.

Around 7000 people fall into this category.

They include - among other workers - people doing COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, emergency department workers, midwives, GPs, nurses, pharmacy workers, contact tracing personnel, non-government organisations that do health work and office staff related to these jobs.   

Ardern made the announcement at a 3pm post-Cabinet press conference.


Here is the latest update from the Ministry of Health, as at 1:43pm on Monday:

There are no new COVID-19 cases in the community to report since yesterday evening when we reported the community case, Case O.  

There is one new case of COVID-19 to report in managed isolation.

Auckland February cluster – one community case reported yesterday

Yesterday evening we reported one new community case, Case O, who tested positive for COVID-19. Case O is a household contact of Cases I, J, K and L – all are in the Auckland quarantine facility.

Case O had been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility on 23 February as a precautionary measure. The person became symptomatic on Saturday and returned a positive COVID-19 test on Sunday. This means that Case O has been in quarantine for their infectious period.

As a result of the early precautionary measures carried out to contain potential COVID-19 spread from this household there are no new associated locations of interest and no risk to members of the public.

Update on Cases M and N

Yesterday evening we reported that preliminary Whole Genome Sequencing results for Case N confirmed the case is similar to that of Case M and is linked to the current outbreak.

Contact tracing for Cases M and N continues to be a focus for public health staff in Auckland. Their other household members have been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility.

Contact tracing of the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) Manukau campus has identified 21 close contacts of Case M, who are being followed up and provided advice from public health staff regarding isolating and testing.

The dates and times of potential exposure events are on the Ministry’s website, on the locations of interest page. This page also has public health advice for people who were at the MIT Manukau campus at these dates and times. The vast majority of people on the campus at the same times as Case M are considered casual contacts and need to watch for symptoms. They do not need to have a test unless they have symptoms, or are a close or casual plus contact. All casual contacts should be limiting their movements and interactions with other people. Under Level 3, everyone in Auckland should also currently be staying at home.

Contact tracing of City Fitness in Hunters Plaza has identified 154 casual plus contacts. These contacts will be followed up by contact tracing teams to ensure that they get a test and stay at home until the test is negative. If you were at the gym on 20 February between 12.20pm - 1.45pm or 26 February between 3.25pm - 4.30pm and have not been contacted then please phone Healthline for advice.

Update on Cases A, B and C

Cases A, B and C are classified as recovered from their COVID-19 infections and have finished their quarantine period at the Auckland quarantine facility.

Wastewater testing

Regular wastewater testing at an Auckland site near Papatoetoe High School continues to report negative results.

Auckland February cases contact tracing update

KFC Botany Downs contacts

KFC staff - there are 11 close plus contacts who worked at the same time as Case L. Seven of these people have returned negative test results so far.

All other test results received so far have come back negative.

Detailed advice about the actions required for the different categories of contacts is provided on the Ministry of Health website.

Progress with tests at Papatoetoe High School

Case A had 31 close contacts at the school, one of these tested positive (Case D). All others have tested negative for COVID-19.

All the remaining students and staff at the school have been designated as casual plus contacts of Case A.

There are 1,519 casual plus contacts. As at 8am this morning, in addition to the three positive cases (Case E, I and J), 1,514 students and staff have returned at least one negative test result since 15 February.

All casual plus contacts have been undergoing a follow-up test on or after 22 February; more than 97 percent of results are back, and all results from the follow-up tests are negative.

Kmart Botany contacts

A total of 33 staff members have been identified as close plus contacts.

All 33 people have tested negative.

We have been contacted by 1,847 people who reported being at the store at the times of interest. They have been provided with public health advice. These people have been asked to isolate for 14 days and be tested at day 5 and day 12 after their exposure to the case. People who have symptoms will be tested at the appropriate time.

We currently have 1,794 negative test results for this group.  

Dark Vapes East Tamaki

Contact tracing of Dark Vapes East Tamaki identified a total of seven close and close plus contacts. All people have returned negative results for their day five test.

What to do if you’ve recently been in Auckland

Overall, everyone should follow the Alert Level guidance relevant for where they are staying. Auckland is currently at Alert Level 3 and the rest of New Zealand is at Alert Level 2.

However, if you have been in Auckland recently, check the locations of interest page to find out if you might have been exposed to COVID-19 by being in the same place at the same time as a confirmed case.

If you were potentially exposed, follow the guidance on the locations of interest page.

Monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19, including some of the less usual symptoms like muscle aches and pains and fatigue. Details of symptoms to look out for are on the Ministry website.

Keep a record of where you’ve been. Use the COVID Tracer App to scan QR codes and make sure you’ve got Bluetooth turned on in the app. This helps with contact tracing.

It is important to note that Alert Level 3 means travel is restricted to those with exemptions or who are returning home.

Visit the Unite Against COVID-19 website for information about Alert Level requirements.

Up-to-date information on testing locations in metro Auckland

10 community testing centres in the Auckland region are open today, and six of these are in South and East Auckland. The centres are in Takanini, Wiri, Mangere, Otara, Pakuranga, Balmoral, New Lynn, Henderson, Northcote and Kohuora Park in Papatoetoe.
Community testing centres in Auckland are reporting increased demand today.  At this time there are manageable queues at the Otara and Takanini testing sites – with times of around an hour.
A reminder that regular primary healthcare providers are also available to carry out COVID-19 tests, which may help people avoid queues.

For up-to-date information on testing locations in Auckland, visit www.arphs.health.nz/covid19test, for all testing locations nationwide visit www.healthpoint.co.nz/covid-19/.

Looking after yourself and others

We understand that this situation is difficult for many and news of Alert Level changes over the weekend can be frustrating.

The public can access free 24/7 support by phoning 1737, and there is a range of other support listed on the Ministry of Health website.

Now more than ever, people in Auckland need to look out for each other.  We appreciate what you are doing is for the benefit for all of us.  

New border case details

Arrival date

From

Via

Positive test day/reason

Managed isolation/quarantine location

27 Feb

India

United Arab Emirates and Singapore

Around day 0 / routine testing

Auckland

The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 67. Our total number of confirmed cases is 2,022.

The total number of tests processed by laboratories to date is 1,712,029.

On Sunday, 4,648 tests were processed. The seven-day rolling average up to yesterday is 7,101 tests processed.

Community testing centres and general practices in Auckland report a busy day yesterday in terms of the numbers people being tested. We expect to report those numbers tomorrow.

Historical cases

Since January 1, there have now been 37 historical cases, out of a total of 212 cases.

NZ COVID Tracer

NZ COVID Tracer now has 2,704,337 registered users, an increase of more than 112,000 users in the last fortnight.

Poster scans have reached 200,718,745 and users have created 8,024,758 manual diary entries. There have been 1,314,904 scans in the 24 hours to 1pm yesterday, and 1,315,540 scans per day on average for the past week.

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.

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.

47 Comments

CNN vaccine tracker reports as at 28 Feb (14 days after receipt of 60K vaccines) NZ has now administered 1000 vaccinations.. Australia received them at the same time as us and has administered 30 000 to a population spread far and wide compared to NZ. Why with our advantages of being so small and having money and first world logistical systems are we the slowest in the world (barring a handful of third world countries) at administering them once they have been received??

Give government a month or so before judging their progress. With the exception of Israel no health system was ready to deploy upon arrival.

Does anyone know if Israel has been vaccinating the Palestinian population?

noted somewhere, which can’t locate again, that they were starting to vaccinate Palestinian workers. assumedly those actually employed by the Israelis.

Think they just started doing some, although I am unsure how many.

The Palestinian authority has independently purchased vaccine from four suppliers via Covax. Under the Oslo accord Palestine should do its own healthcare generally. Palestinians who live or work in Israel will be taken care of by Israel of course.

They should not need to. Article 43 of the 4th Geneva Convention clearly states that Israel is responsible. But based on Israel's numerous and recent breaches of the Geneva Convention (always with US support) the occupied territories should probably not hold their breath when it comes to Israel doing the right thing.

OK. It seems like they are moving at snails-pace compared to others but with any luck they up their game. I am not optimistic but hopefully they prove me wrong. Judging by the pace of other countries roll outs I would say a par performance would be somewhere between 40 000 and 60 000 jabs administered by 15 March ie in the first month. The cynic in me is guessing this lot manage only somewhere between 8 000 and 20 000 by then but again I will be happy to be proven wrong. The CNN website allows us to accurately assess speed (and thus performance) compared to the rest of the world.

Unlike the rest of the world, we don't have a rampaging virus that is putting huge strain on hosptial resources giving then every reason to vaccinate ASAP in order to save money and lives.

So why the rhetoric of being at front of queue? Why not just say "we gonna take it casual as"

Lanthnide.... first of all "having a rampaging virus putting strain on hospital resources" would slow down the roll out so that is one more reason for us not to accept NZ being so slow. Secondly, you seem to say we do not have every reason to roll out the vaccines ASAP. Really?

The good news is that it is the CNN vaccine tracker and not the Fox News vaccine tracker. Our government cares about the opinions of those in the world who view CNN as a credible news network. If this does become the de facto performance indicator for national vaccination roll outs. Then our government will want to see our ranking climb.To signal our greatness to the CNN community. The other good news is that with our small population and capability (if used effectively) we can quickly move up the table on the basis of vaccinations per 1000 people. Even if a few DHB administrators have to get the vaccine ahead of everyone else. It's the price we pay to grease the wheels.

I think CNN can be relied on for this kind of stuff. However, it is a bit of a stretch to call CNN credible these days. They are almost as biased as Fox now. Have you listened to Anderson Cooper or Cuomo lately? I sometimes watch Don Lemon when I need a bit of a laugh. With the sighs and long pauses after each carefully twisted soundbite he was borderline rabid in his passive-aggression throughout most of the Trump presidency.

This one dose not pass the sniff test.
https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2021/03/coronavirus-gps-utter...
I can't believe they are are leaving it to individual DHB's to coordinate their own vaccine roll outs. These are the same organisations that had contact tracing systems that ranged in technological complexity from post-it notes to spreadsheets running on Windows XP PC's.

It's good to see that the armchair epidemiologists and virologists are also experts on vaccine distribution and public health. It augurs well for economic progress after covid - just think what other fields they will discover expertise in.

oldbloke....if you are capable of logging into the CNN website and reading numbers from a screen you are capable of assessing their performance (or lack of in our case) in comparison to other countries. As most of us are not epidemiologists, virologists and are not aware of specifics involving logistics etc we are more than happy to listen to any reasons why we have (so far) been almost the slowest in the world at administering the jabs after we received them. But in an open and democratic society open communication regarding reasons for the lack of speed should not be too much to ask for. What do you think oldbloke? Is it an unreasonable request? Or should we just accept that there are valid reasons why we take longer to administer them and it is not our place (or we are too stupid to understand) to even ask why?

Not supposed to employ critical thinking as per oldbloke advice. Jacinda will provide frame of reference.

Let's ask Phil Twyford. He knows a bit about over promising and under delivering.

This lurch into prioritising vaccination of specific communities obviously has quite a few sponsors whose reasoning is not unreasonable. But it will be both unreasonable and unwarranted, if the earlier rationale to first inoculate all those working and/or in contact, at all the international border locations etc throughout ALL OF NEW ZEALAND, is sacrificed in order to do so.

There's 0 indication that those communities would go ahead of the other high priority groups. Jacinda has said that South Auckland would be at the forefront of the wider public vaccination campaign starting around July, by which time all front-line health staff will have been offered vaccinations.

Lanthanide...you seem knowledgeable on this subject so could you please explain to me why after 14 days (according to the CNN website tracker) we have administered 1000 jabs while Australia has done 30 000 in the same time frame? Specifically, are you aware of any reasons why we are moving 30 times slower than Australia? (and almost every other country in the world). Surely with all the covid media time this will be clearly explained to us in due course anyway, right?

With this Govts track record of failures over the last 3.5 years I guess we all just expect their vaccine rollout to be a farce and way behind the rest of the world.

Agreed, so far, that is why I used the word if. on the other hand though, this government and its Ministry of Health, have for nigh on 12 months displayed management that is a combination of making it up as you go and catch up. therefore a change of priority policy is just as is the present status, only a matter of words. Certainly , former governments are little different. for example if you had been affected by the mismanagement National produced during the Canterbury EQs, but this is the government of today, and in my opinion, they are looking more than flaky and hardly convincing in terms of consistent messaging, leadership, discipline and direction.

there will likely be many countries who have vaccinated 90%+ of their total population who are prepared to get the jab by July and we are expected to accept that NZ will start "the wider public vaccination campaign starting around July". Am I missing something here?

Yes.

What we would like is to be told the % of tests which are showing positive and how many tests are being done, per day. This shows prevalence and trend. These figures are rarely if ever given
There have been over a million tests in nZ in last year and about 2,200 max were positive.
Much ado

Time to open up the border to Australia. We have much more risks from the idiots here than visitors from Australia.

No. That would be completely stupid.

"Start being vaccinated this month"
Why are we sooo slow in NZ ? It's nice that we're a relaxed bunch but sometimes you just need to GET SHIT DONE

I actually have a framed canvas in my office saying "GET SHIT DONE" I love it

Wouldn't it be better in the toilet?

Ugly Yvil

Ugly Yvil

Don’t worry once we have the alternative vaccines like AstraZeneca and normal fridges can be used watch how fast the gps get the job done.

Dupe

According to the PMs office the covid cases were 'sent letters' telling them to get tested.

Letters take over a week to arrive these days. Incredibly poor decision making by our leaders in this crisis. Someone in the media needs to take this seriously, step up and ask the hard questions.

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2021/03/covid-19-kfc-worker-s...

That's not the only form of communication they attempted to use.

I'm glad they actually did it, though.

Well she is saying the phone calls didn't happen either.
MOH are putting a very high amount of trust in contact details being correct. Obviously they are not going to be reliable, another example where the net must be cast wider instead of just looking to the data held by one organisation.

I see we are now getting he said she said with case L denying they had any contact from MoH. Letters from MoH? In this day and age. Even if no email more than likely a cell phone. Union able to contact her in 3 mins.
Case L not aware of not going to work when a close contact and self isolate. According to MoH website. You'll be told if u are a close contact etc and what to do.. https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-nov... This point a finger directly at MoH.
Case L was tested positive on 26/2 but at work,KFC, 22and23/2. Not sure which group, Papatoetoe HS or Laundry lady.

nigel...if the TV3 news tonight is to be believed things are even more shambolic than I imagined. There is usually good reason why people are in the public service.

yeah. I loose track of exactly what is happening so tend to rely on those on this website who are more adept than I am in unravelling what's going on, particularly time lines on testing. I'm not getting a comfortable feeling from MoH and this skepticism is a few months old.

I would not trust them to feed the cat and water the plants while I was on holiday.

Did the headline proofreader resign?

Good news distractions being rolled out now. Things must be bad.

https://i.stuff.co.nz/travel/news/300242115/travel-bubble-gamechanger-pr...

Part of the reason is that other countries started planning their vaccine deployment much earlier than us. Although we have known since September that we can expect vaccines early this year, the MoH people didn’t start meeting to discuss, at least in Auckland, the rollout late January. Competent project planners in the private sector would have done scenario plans last year. This is why we are slow. It will be interesting to see if we pick up pace but given the poor distribution of flu vaccines and meningococcal vaccines I will be pleasantly surprised if this happens. It would be good for media to scrutinise this further.

I'm all in favor of vaccinating South Auckland workers first. It's obvious that that is where the problems arise. Apart from the frontline workers I'd also put a priority on any firm that contracts for work from the airport and importers. Coolstores and airline laundries should be on the list. You'd think this would be a problem in Christchurch near to the airport as well but not so much.

It might be about the dollars and having to work while you are sick, in which case the govt is missing in action. It might also be that South Aucklanders are like the rest of New Zealand - no one takes anything seriously until things get serious and then we start sprinting. When it's just about too late.