Director general Ashley Bloomfield is providing the latest Covid-19 update at 1pm following Covid scares in Auckland, Wellington and the Waikato.
The latest community cases include a Defence Force serviceperson working at the Jet Park quarantine facility in Auckland, who tested positive on Friday.
They had a meeting with a Defence Force civilian worker in Auckland on Wednesday, who then flew to Wellington on Thursday and developed symptoms on Friday night. The Health Ministry reported his positive result yesterday.
And this morning Otorohanga College said on its Facebook page that a Covid-positive person had flown from Wellington to Hamilton and may have had contact with college whanau who attended a community meeting in Kawhia.
However, the Waikato DHB said the flight was actually from Auckland to Wellington on November 5 – the same flight taken by the civilian worker.
An individual on the flight had gone to a meeting which was also attended by students from the college, the DHB said, and there was minimal risk of exposure.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Health said there was no need at this stage to change alert levels.
The civilian worker flew on Air NZ flight NZ 457 from Auckland to Wellington on November 5, sitting in row 23.
Everyone sitting within two seats in all directions are being asked to be tested and to self-isolate. Their household contacts are also being asked to self-isolate until the person on the flight has tested negative.
The ministry has also released a number of locations where the Defence Force workers had been including:
• Avis Car Rental, Auckland Airport, November 5, 5 – 5:15pm
• Domestic Terminal, Auckland Airport, November 5, 5:30 – 7:45pm
• Orleans Chicken & Waffles, Auckland Airport, November 5, 5:30 – 7pm
• The Gypsy Moth, Auckland Airport, November 5, 7 – 7:15pm
• Hudsons, Auckland Airport, November5, 7 – 7:15pm
• Little Penang, 44 The Terrace, Wellington, November 6, 1:15 – 3:45pm
• Mezze Bar, Unit 1A, Soho Mall, Auckland CBD, November 5, 11am – 1pm
• Liquor.Com, 456 Queen Street, Auckland CBD, November 5, 1pm – 2pm
People at these locations at these times are considered casual contacts and should contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if they have symptoms or if they have any health concerns.
Cases have also been in the community in Christchurch after two nurses working at the Sudima quarantine facility were infected – but these cases appear to have been contained.
This morning Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the number of times Covid-19 had crossed from an MIQ facility into the community was not a sign that the system was broken.
There have been at least seven instances in just over three months: the Jet Park nurse, the Rydges maintenance worker, the port engineer, each of the two Sudima nurses who interacted with the infected foreign mariners, the overseas arrival who is thought to have been infected from a shared rubbish bin lid, and the Jet Park Defence Force worker.
The Auckland August cluster is also thought to have probably come from an MIQ facility, but there is no evidence of this.
Epidemiologists and public health experts have called these failures of infection prevention controls, but Bloomfield and Ardern reject this.
“Ultimately we’ve had 70,000 people going through but more of them are coming back with Covid at the moment, so that heightens the risk,” Ardern told Newstalk ZB.
She said the Sudima nurses had both been wearing personal protective equipment.
One line of investigation is whether wearing N95 masks would have minimised risk more than the surgical masks they were wearing.
She said the prevention controls were always being reviewed so they could be improved.
“It’s a virus, though, and it’s extraordinarily tricky.”
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