6 new cases of COVID-19 19 August

There are six new cases of COVID-19 to report in New Zealand today.

One case is an imported case – a woman in her 50s who arrived in New Zealand from Qatar via Sydney on August 14. She has been in managed isolation at the Sudima Hotel in Rotorua.

The other five cases are in the community and they have all been linked to the recent outbreak.

These six new confirmed cases bring our total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to 1,299, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.

There are 125 people from the community who have been moved into the Auckland quarantine facility, which includes 61 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their household contacts.

There are five people receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19, one in Auckland City and four in Middlemore.

A note on this, people who have COVID-19 and are in hospital are isolated and carefully managed separately from other patients. The public can be confident that our DHBs are managing this effectively, as they did in the first outbreak of COVID-19 in New Zealand. We have heard reports of people who are reluctant to get an ambulance or go to hospital – hospitals continue to be safe places to receive medical care, and people should feel confident going to hospital to receive treatment.

Yesterday our laboratories processed 23,038 tests for COVID-19.

That brings the total number of tests completed to date to 639,415.

On testing, people should only get tested if they are symptomatic, connected to a case or are concerned that they may have come into contact with a case. This will help with our lab capacity right now.

Close and casual contacts

Since August 11, we have identified 1983 close contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-19. We have traced 1,861 of those people and they are self-isolating, and we are in the process of contacting the rest.

We are hearing reports of some confusion among people calling Healthline as to what different groups of people need to do, so we are providing clarification on that:

Close contacts

Close contacts are people who have had quite close exposure to a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 during the case’s infectious period – for example, living in the same household or being within 2 metres of a case for 15 minutes or more. They are likely to be at a higher risk of being infected through that exposure. We are asking people who have been identified as a close contact to get a test and stay in self-isolation for 14 days to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Casual contacts

Casual contacts are people whose exposure to a case was shorter or further away and they don’t meet the criteria for a close contact. They are likely to be at lower risk of being infected following exposure. We are asking people identified as a casual contact to monitor their health for 14 days after exposure and seek advice from their GP or Healthline if they become unwell or develop any symptoms of COVID-19.

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