Today there are no new cases of COVID-19 to report.
It has now been 87 days since the last case of COVID-19 was acquired locally from an unknown source.
The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 remains at 1206, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.
There are no new recovered cases today, which means the total number of active cases in New Zealand's managed isolation and quarantine facilities remains at 21.
There is no one in New Zealand receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19.
Yesterday our laboratories completed 550 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 456,227. 270 of these were swabs completed from managed isolation and quarantine facilities.
We regularly see lower testing rates at weekends. Additionally, the country enjoyed a generally mild weekend of weather, which continues to contribute to unusually low levels of people presenting with flu-like symptoms and respiratory issues.
This week, we will be continuing to support the effort to increase the amount of community-based testing for people with respiratory symptoms.
There are three areas of action underway, with the Ministry working closely with the Colleges of GPs, Urgent Care and Emergency Medicine and their members to offer testing to all people who present with symptoms.
The second area of focus is working with the district health boards to ensure testing is widely available, including at general practices and community-based assessment centres.
Thirdly, as New Zealanders we all have a part to play and the Ministry encourages anyone who is offered a swab, to take up that offer.
Testing remains an important part of our overall strategy to detect any community cases of COVID-19 as quickly as possible.
It’s also important to remember the basic public health measures which keep communities protected: staying home if you’re sick, frequent hand-washing, and good sneeze and cough etiquette.
Traveller to South Korea
The Ministry of Health continues to work with its counterpart in South Korea for more information about the traveller from New Zealand who has tested positive.
The individual left New Zealand six days ago on 21 July and arrived in South Korea on 22 July after transiting through Singapore.
The traveller has no symptoms but returned a positive test on arrival.
South Korean authorities have informed us that based on their initial investigations they suspect the traveller was infected during the transit in Singapore airport.
However other causes, including infection in New Zealand, can’t be ruled out at this stage so the Ministry is in close contact with South Korea and is expecting further information from the authorities later today New Zealand time.
The Ministry is actively looking at whether any steps need to be taken here, based on the information available.
Healthcare staff working across multiple sites
The Ministry of Health is working through updated advice with the COVID-19 Clinical Governance Group which has oversight of clinical practices, including nursing, within managed isolation and quarantine facilities.
There are already in place systems and processes at the managed isolation facilities which are robust and sufficient to keep safe the nurses working there, and the individuals they interact with. Nurses are also already provided with guidance on infection control, PPE and procedures to reduce the risk of transmission.
The updated advice will recommend rostering guidelines, limiting staff same-day redeployment to different workplaces and improving managers’ knowledge of which staff have secondary employment so additional risk factors can be assessed and managed.
Nurses are trained professionals, well versed in infection prevention and control and in the COVID-19 context.
Within managed isolation and quarantine facilities nurses have access to appropriate PPE, follow sound personal hygiene practices and keep to physical distancing requirements. They also have regular health checks and are regularly offered testing for COVID-19, even if they are not symptomatic.
The updated advice will apply to all healthcare staff working in managed isolation and quarantine facilities. It will be shared tomorrow with DHBs that have managed isolation and quarantine facilities in their region, before being finalised.
The Ministry will also provide the updated recommendations to other agencies employing staff within managed isolation and quarantine facilities to help ensure a consistent approach in terms of these types of work practices.
NZ COVID Tracer
NZ COVID Tracer has now recorded 620,000 registered users.
There have been 80,789 posters created to date and 1,573,159 poster scans.
The Ministry continues to remind New Zealanders to keep a record of where they’ve been as this remains one of the best tools in the continued fight against COVID-19.
That’s why we are continuing to encourage all New Zealanders to download, register and use the app.
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