By RNZ News
New Zealand reported 13 new confirmed cases of covid-19 in the community today and no new cases in managed isolation facilities.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said 12 of the new cases were linked to the community cluster cases and one was under investigation but was believed to be linked.
The new cases bring the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 1293, and one previously reported probable case is now under investigation.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Health reported nine new confirmed cases of covid-19 in the community.
The total number of active cases in New Zealand is currently 90, of which 69 are from the recent community outbreak, there is one further community case and 20 imported cases in quarantine.
Dr Bloomfield said 98 people linked to the cluster had been moved into the Auckland quarantine facility, that includes 44 people who have tested positive and the balance were household contacts.
Six people are receiving hospital-level care for covid-19 – two in Auckland City Hospital and four in Middlemore. None are requiring intensive care.
Genome sequencing would be done on all new cases, Dr Bloomfield said.
Investigation on case not linked to cluster
Dr Bloomfield said genomic sequencing had provided more information on two cases of covid-19 that were under investigation.
Today’s covid-19 media briefing. Video: RNZ News
He said they had been able to genomically link the household of five positive cases – one of those was currently in Auckland Hospital – to the existing cluster.
“This gives us a high level of reassurance that these people are part of the same community cluster rather than it being a separate cluster.”
The second case is a man who is a maintenance worker at the Rydges Hotel, one of the managed isolation hotels.
The worker carried out maintenance tasks on the rooms there, Dr Bloomfield said. He said the person tested positive on August 16 and the genome sequencing indicated it was not linked to the outbreak in the community but rather a positive case that was in the Rydges and identified on July 31 – a returnee from the USA.
Asked about what theories there were how the worker became infected, Dr Bloomfield said it could be a number of things. It could be through human-to-human transmission directly or it could be through environmental contamination, he said.
On whether there will be another cluster from the US case, Minister of Health Chris Hipkins said “at this stage it is contained, just one person … the household and work contacts have come back negative.”
Church service contacts
Dr Bloomfield added that casual contacts of the person from a church service were also being contacted. He said it seemed very well contained.
“Little bit of a mystery here, one that we will be investigating to find out.
“It does show that this is a highly contagious virus that is easy to get,” Hipkins said.
“Even if you have the very best protective measures in place there is no 100 percent guarantee [you’ll be protected from the virus].”
On contact tracing he said that since August 11, 1880 close contacts had been identified and 1691 of those had been contacted and were self-isolating and had either been tested or were waiting for testing.
The rest would be contacted, he says.
Dr Bloomfield revealed there were two more locations of interest – one was Pak ‘n’ Save on Apirana Avenue in Glen Innes, Auckland. A confirmed case visited the supermarket a number of times between July 31 between 10.09am and August 8 at 10.10am.
Auckland Regional Public Health later confirmed that the customer only made one visit and had no symptoms at the time, so the risk to staff and other customers was considered low.
This article is republished by the Pacific Media Centre under a partnership agreement with RNZ.