2 new cases of COVID

There are two new cases of COVID-19 to report in managed isolation facilities in New Zealand today.

It has been 96 days since the last case of COVID-19 was acquired locally from an unknown source.

The first case we are reporting today is a man in his 20s who arrived in New Zealand on July 23 from the Philippines via Hong Kong. He has been in managed isolation at the Rydges in Rotorua and tested negative for COVID-19 around day 3 of his stay. He has been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility after testing positive around day 12 of his stay in managed isolation.

The second case is a woman in her 40s who arrived in New Zealand on August 1 from the Philippines via Hong Kong. She has been in managed isolation at the Grand Millennium in Auckland, and tested positive around day 3 of her stay.

The total number of active cases in managed isolation facilities in New Zealand is now 24.

These cases bring New Zealand’s total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to 1,219, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.

There is no one in New Zealand receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19.

Yesterday our laboratories processed 4,140 tests for COVID-19. There were 485 swabs taken in managed isolation and quarantine facilities yesterday. The total number of tests processed to date is now 477,909. We would like to thank all New Zealanders who have come forward to be tested – this wider testing is important to ensure there is no undetected community transmission.

NZ COVID Tracer

New Zealand’s response to COVID-19 works on the basis that we should be prepared for a case of community transmission, and that that could happen at any time.

We have prepared for this eventuality by, among other things, scaling up our capacity in testing and contact tracing, and every New Zealander needs to be prepared for the virus to re-emerge.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said tracing contacts of cases of COVID-19 as quickly as possible would help stop the virus from spreading in our communities.

“We can’t afford for people to wait until there is a case of community transmission to start using the app – we need to quickly be able to isolate any contacts of a future case in our community before the virus spreads out of control.

“By keeping a record of your movements, you will be able to quickly call upon your digital or written diary of your movements to assess whether you may have been exposed to a case of COVID-19.

“Now is the time for New Zealanders to get the app and get in the habit of using it – it is simple, quick and now has extra functionality allowing for manual entries to record where you have been.”

The app has now recorded 630,700 users, and 83,337 posters have been created. There have been 1,885,632 poster scans and 39,730 manual entries into the app.

Masks

The Ministry is actively considering its advice to the public on use of masks, as we look at steps the public could take to be better prepared for a possible further outbreak of COVID-19.

The updated World Health Organization advice is that masks are effective in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when worn by the public where there are cases of community transmission. The WHO also suggests that people should be prepared for the use of masks before the need to use them arises.

We know that masks have been successfully used overseas to reduce transmission of COVID-19. Masks can be particularly useful when people are in close proximity to each other – including on public transport, in shops, and in other confined spaces. If there are further outbreaks of COVID-19, masks will be one important component of our strategy for containing the spread of the virus.

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