Kamis, 13 Agustus 2020

Coronavirus NZ: COVID-19 cases confirmed in Tokoroa outside of Auckland -

Two cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed outside of Auckland where the coronavirus re-emerged in New Zealand.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced 12 new cases and one probable case on Friday.

He said two of the new cases are in Tokoroa, a town in the South Waikato district about 200 kilometres south of Auckland on the North Island.

These two people are part of the same household and tested positive after being in contact with members of the Auckland cluster, which has now grown to 30 cases, he said.

“They had contact with two people from Auckland - the same people who had also visited a rest home in Morrinsville,” he said.

“The visit occurred before they were aware that they were infectious or had exposure.”

Dr Bloomfield said the link behind one of the 13 cases, the “most recent case” authorities have been informed of, is still under investigation and the patient is in hospital.

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The Ministry of Health yesterday confirmed 14 new cases including one returned overseas traveller in managed isolation and 13 linked to four family members who tested positive in Auckland earlier this week “from an unknown source”.

“Given that all these cases are linked, we are treating them as a cluster and what we know about clusters, as we have found out in the past, is that they do continue to grow,” Dr Bloomfield said yesterday.

“So we fully expect there will be further cases. There are some symptomatic people – of course they have been tested, they are in isolation and all appropriate tests are being taken. We will update you if results come through that confirm those cases, on a daily basis.”

The government on Friday said it believes all of the new cases are connected to the one Auckland-based cluster.

Dr Bloomfield said 38 people linked to the cluster, including positive cases and family members, had already been moved into quarantine.

“We’ve seen no evidence of a positive COVID-19 case outside of Auckland that is unrelated to the cluster that we are dealing with,” Health Minister Chris Hipkins told reporters.

“We’ve got two confirmed cases in the Waikato with a direct link to the Auckland cluster, and one case in Auckland that is still under investigation.

“But we of course are not out of the woods yet. Continuing our plan to rapidly contact trace and test over the next couple of days remains our No. 1 priority.

“That priority remains in Auckland, where the bulk of the cases are. That’s where we’re focusing the lion’s share of our efforts. For the rest of New Zealand, our message remains for people to be vigilant, to wash your hands, to stay home if you’re feeling unwell, and to call Healthline or your GP if you have any doubts.”

Until Tuesday, the country had not recorded a case of local transmission in 102 days.


Among those to test positive in Thursday’s figures were three employees from AmeriCold, the workplace of one previously reported case.

The ABC on Friday reported the company’s managing director had confirmed two more employees had tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases linked to the cold storage facility to six.

“Two of the AmeriCold sites, Mount Wellington and Auckland Airport, have been closed, and all staff from the Airport site have now been tested,” the NZ Health Ministry said on Thursday.

“A mobile testing unit went to the homes of symptomatic people from the Mount Wellington site yesterday and further testing is underway.”

Officials are investigating the possibility that the virus travelled into New Zealand on refrigerated freight.

Dr Bloomfield said surface testing was occurring in an Auckland cold storage facility where a man from the infected family worked.

“We do know from studies overseas, that actually, the virus can survive in some refrigerated environments for quite some time,” he said.

China has reported instances of coronavirus being detected on the packaging of imported frozen seafood.

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Earlier, South Waikato Mayor Jenny Shattock confirmed to Stuff council was told on Thursday afternoon about a staff member potentially linked to a known Auckland case.

A case was reportedly confirmed in Tokoroa and two staff members at Tokoroa Medical Centre were in self-isolation.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Ms Shattock told staff: “Unfortunately we have a confirmed case of Covid in Tokoroa and a probable case plus five others have been tested as some of them are unwell.”

“At this stage we have (a doctor) in isolation and the nurse who swabbed the patient plus a council staff member is isolating as well,” she said in an email to councillors on Thursday night.

Tokoroa is home to more than 13,600 people.


As of midday on Wednesday, new rules are in place. Auckland returned to stage 3 restrictions until at least midnight on Friday, while the rest of the country is at stage 2.

This means people living in Auckland are working from home unless they are an essential services worker. Schools remain open only for students whose parents are essential workers.

Public facilities, bars, restaurants and businesses in Auckland were forced to close, and gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited. For the rest of the country, mass gatherings are now limited to 100 people.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has also urged everyone to wear masks to help prevent the spread of the virus, noting people can fashion their own face covering if needed.

Supermarkets have already moved to immediately restrict the sale of some essential products to ensure demand can be met and prevent stockpiling.

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2020-08-14 01:18:45Z

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