NZ lockdown – day 18: Another drop in new confirmed and probable cases

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NZ's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield ... the drop in new cases "encouraging ... and I think all New Zealanders should take heart that our efforts are paying dividends". Image: RNZ News screenshot/PMC

By RNZ News

New Zealand’s number of recovered cases of Covid-19 continues to be higher than the number of new infections, the Director-General of Health says.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said today there were 18 new and confirmed cases of Covid-19, bringing the total number of cases to 1330.

Yesterday, there were 29 new confirmed and probable cases, bringing the total cases in the country to 1312, while two more deaths were announced. Both of the deaths were linked to an identified cluster.

READ MORE: Al Jazeera coronavirus live updates – Trump warned ‘early, often’ – US reports 20,000 deaths, now world’s worst toll

New Zealand now has four fatalities – two of them were linked to Rosewood rest home, in Christchurch, which still has about 30 cases. The investigation into the source of Rosewood cluster continues.

Dr Bloomfield said the most likely scenario was that it was brought in by a staff member.

There have been no additional deaths today. However, Dr Bloomfield warned there could be more in coming days.

The man aged in his 80s who died in Wellington from Covid-19 on Friday was part of the Bluff wedding cluster.

14 people in hospital
Fourteen people with Covid-19 are in hospital, including five in Intensive Care Units, one of whom is in critical condition.


Watch RNZ’s video of the New Zealand media conference today.

 

An additional 49 people have recovered, bringing the total number of recovered people to 471.

Dr Bloomfield said the drop in new cases was “encouraging … and I think all New Zealanders should take heart that our efforts are paying dividends”.

Of the cases, 47 percent were related to contacts, 40 percent were linked to travel travel, 2 percent were community transmission and 11 percent were still being checked.

The Ministry of Health was keeping a close eye on the 13 clusters in the country, Dr Bloomfield said.

“We currently have three significant clusters in aged care facilities, two in Christchurch, one in the Waikato. We know … that this is a group that is particularly vulnerable to a poor outcome if they are infected with the virus.”

Bloomfield said the Ministry of Health and district health boards have been working closely with aged care residential facilities on Covid-19 for some time.

Covid 19 cases for 12 April.
Graphic: RNZ News

Check on residential care homes
He said he wrote to district health boards (DHBs) yesterday asking them to systematically assess all residential care providers in their areas and their plans for protecting staff and residents, including a stocktake of personal protection equipment (PPE).

“There are a number of steps underway to work very closely with the aged care sector to keep staff and patients safe.”

Five cases in the Spectrum Care cluster were staff numbers, he said, and there was no need for concern among people who used services provided by Spectrum. The total number of cases in the cluster is 28.

Dr Bloomfield said the New Zealanders returning from the Greg Mortimer cruise ship were all considered to be high-risk, considering the circumstances they were in, and would be assessed and isolated accordingly.

However, he said none of them so far are unwell to the extent they would require hospitalisation.

Healthline has reported that some of the people calling have quite serious symptoms, and Dr Bloomfield said people should not hesitate to call their own GP and seek medical attention in a timely manner.

“It’s very important people seeking timely care for their healthcare needs… people should not be afraid of seeking care nor should they delay that… Ring Healthline, get advice, ring your GP,” Dr Bloomfield said.

Easter Sunday calls
“It’s Easter Sunday. Think particularly about older friends and whanau… do reach out across the generations. Call or virtualise your messages… we will get through this if we continue to support each other.”

A supermarket worker in Flaxmere with Covid-19 did not get the infection in the workplace, but had contact with someone who had travelled to Queenstown, Dr Bloomfield said.

Dr Bloomfield said the ministry was assisting the government with procedures that would need to be in place for the country to move to level three on the alert scale.

“There’s a lot of active work going on and that advice is going to all sectors… all of this will go into informing the government’s decision about when to step down from level four.”

There had been 847 breaches of the lockdown rules so far and 109 prosecutions as a result.

Police had issued more than 700 warnings.

They had been very active over the Easter weekend, Dr Bloomfield said.

This article is republished by the Pacific Media Centre under a partnership agreement with RNZ.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP – don’t show up at a medical centre.
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