No new cases of COVID-19 have been detected in New Zealand’s managed isolation facilities, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced on Monday.
It has been 73 days since the country’s last case of COVID-19 was acquired locally from an unknown source, indicating there is no evidence of community transmission.
New Zealand’s confirmed case total remains at 1194, which is the number reported to the World Health Organization.
As of Monday, there have been no new recoveries. There are currently 25 active cases, all of which were detected in managed isolation and quarantine facilities.
None of the active cases require hospital-level care.
On Sunday 1043 tests were processed, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 429,643.
Dr Bloomfield also reiterated the Ministry of Health’s testing strategy. There are three key testing groups: the first group comprises returnees, who are tested on both day three and day 12 of their 14-day managed isolation period – or at any time if they are symptomatic.
The second group will focus on testing New Zealanders out in the community who are presenting respiratory symptoms, particularly those who are deemed as higher-risk. High-risk criteria includes having contact with a recent returnee from overseas, or someone who works at the border. This also includes the wider testing of symptomatic New Zealanders as part of community-based surveillance.
The third testing group comprises air crew, people working at the border and staff at managed isolation or quarantine facilities, as part of broader surveillance testing. This includes hotel staff, NZ Defence Force personnel, NZ Police, Aviation Security and health staff.
This week, testing will expand to include public-facing border workers and air crew who do not have symptoms for surveillance purposes.
“The important thing is we are testing the right people,” Dr Bloomfield told reporters.
Health Minister Chris Hipkins noted there is a range of support available for returnees completing their 14-day period in quarantine or managed isolation. It follows a fourth incident of a recently-returned New Zealander absconding their managed isolation facility.
“We’ll continue to supply the support and adapt the sort of support that people need to meet their wellbeing and health needs,” he said.
Hipkins finished his opening statements by urging New Zealanders to download the Government’s COVID Tracer app, to help with any future contact tracing efforts. As of Monday, 594,000 people have registered with the app, and 77,564 QR-code posters are available across businesses. Posters have been scanned more than 1.4 million times.
Dr Bloomfield reiterated his confidence in the managed isolation process, noting there has been no community-acquired cases of COVID-19 despite more than 29,000 people completing their 14-day period at facilities nationwide.
“I am confident. This was reinforced by what the [Health] Minister and I saw this morning in terms of the training of the staff, the processes and procedures that are in place – very, very encouraging there,” he said, referring to his and Hipkins’ visit to a Wellington managed isolation facility on Monday morning.
This news was originally published at newshub.co.nz