85 new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand

There are 85 new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand made up of 76 new confirmed cases and 9 probable cases. This is as at 9.30 am this morning.

There are 37 individuals that we can confirm have recovered.

We have eight people in hospital with COVID-19. There are three in Wellington regional hospital, two in Nelson hospital and one each in Waikato, Auckland and Northland hospital. Six are stable, one in Wellington is in a less stable condition but still on the ward and one is in ICU in Nelson hospital.

Our laboratories are working to process and report test results as quickly as possible. In the past seven days we have processed an average of 1479 tests each day around the country.

Anyone who has been tested is expected to be in strict self-isolation until advised of the result of their test – that means effectively quarantining themselves from other members of their family.

We are still seeing a strong link to overseas travel, as well as links to confirmed case.

We continue to investigate several possible clusters.

The combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 368.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

There remains a lot of interest in supplies of personal protective equipment.

We are providing updated advice to health professionals around when and how to use PPE for dealing with COVID-19 to keep themselves safe. This will be on our website as draft today and finalised on Monday:

Part of that advice is about when health professionals don’t need to use PPE. The advice also covers PPE for other essential workers – and about when that is required.

We have a national pandemic PPE stockpile and individual DHBs have their own dedicated supplies.

In the Ministry of Health national reserve and stores held in reserve by DHBs we have:

  • 1.9 million aprons and gowns
  • 2.7 million pairs of gloves
  • 60,000 sets of eye protection.

In addition, there are 18 million masks held in the national reserve and 5.1 million held in reserve by DHBs.

The Ministry is exploring all existing and a range of new avenues to ensure we maintain our stocks.

Our actions underpin the importance of protecting our health workers and those working in essential services have access to PPE. It is already available for health workers and it’s important there is work to ensure a supply to essential workers.

Epidemic Notice

Three days ago, on 24 March the Prime Minister, with agreement of the Minister of Health, issued an epidemic notice under the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006.

That notice unlocks the use of special powers by Medical Officers of Health under the Health Act 1956 to prevent the outbreak and spread of COVID-19.

This is the legal underpinning of the lockdown.

In addition a national notice to activate Section 70 of the Health Act 1956 was published which has since Wednesday night prohibited large gatherings and required premises to be closed with the exception of essential businesses.

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