COVID-19 media update, 13 August

News article

13 August 2020

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield will be providing an update on COVID-19 at 1.00 pm today.

Topics covered in questions from the media included:

  • 22:02 Why there doesn’t need to be higher alert levels in regions where the family who tested positive visited. Clarification that at this point locus of the outbreak is in Auckland.
  • 23:11 The aged care facility where a positive case visited & one negative test back.
  • 23:22 Information on the new positive tests
  • 23:56 That timing for when a decision will made on extending level 3 in Auckland, will be based on the latest information on Friday, when have a larger range of tests.
  • 25:12 Clarification there are NO positive cases in Wellington. Related to a false positive.
  • 25.46 What info will inform decision on whether to extend level 3 in Auckland. 
  • 26:28 Rationale for moving people who’ve tested positive to quarantine facilities. Includes reduction of risk that other people in household will get infected and reduces risk of other infection in community. May help inform decision to continue alert levels or not.
  • 28:09 Confirming the MIQ facilities will have capacity for these new cases. Working with MBIE.
  • 28:53 Surface swabs in workplace. Public health team there today and swabbing underway.
  • 30:05 Testing of those who work in MIQ facilities and scaling up of this testing, including those who work at border. 
  • 31:00 How testing is an adjunct to infection controls that are in place in facilities
  • 31:38 Other measures including health orders that apply to maritime borders as layers of protection, alongside testing 
  • 33:36 Level 2, extra vigilance necessary currently and why this important
  • 34:20 Dr Bloomfield’s response question on where these new cases may have come from 
  • 35:40 Cold storage
  • 37:02 Issues with misinformation and message to listen to experts
  • 37:29 Testing in Rotorua, don’t currently have that info but will get it
  • 38:16 More on conspiracy theories and spreading of misinformation. The global evidence COVID is real.
  • 39:03 Length of wait for tests and clarity that home tests are not currently being considered. This is because of what we know about reliability of tests. Reminder can go to GP for test. There are a lot of places people can get tested.
  • 39:47 Pool testing. Clarifying that have capacity to do pool testing. 
  • 41:10 Some of the slowness at testing centres caused by time taken to collect information such as NHI number. This is where can be quicker to go to GP for test.
  • 41:31 Cluster modelling. Modelling of the cluster and how we are expecting growth. This is not a sign that the situation is escalating beyond capacity, just behaviour of clusters. 
  • 42: 21 Whether essential services classifications are being reviewed. Not an issue at level 3. Confirmation that essential work categories are being reviewed. 
  • 43:03 No information yet to suggest there was an event that any of these initial cases went to. Number of possible cases that might be out there already. Focus now to ringfence. 
  • 43: 49 How long the first case could have been in community. Spent vast bulk of time unwell and at home. 
  • 44:16 Response to price gouging of masks. Release of 2 million masks to Countdown. Masks added to Price Watch. Asking people to report if they see this issue and government is keeping a close eye on it.
  • 45.25 Whether the index case was being monitored prior to public announcement 
  • 46:05 Question on time Rotorua hotel was informed-info not yet provided
  • 47:05 Testing of managed isolation and quarantine returnees
  • 47:42 Cases of prices raised on masks-message is fairness and not to try to capitalize on situation NZ is in. Reminder that don’t have to have a surgical mask, can use face coverings.
  • 48:21 Working through testing all border staff. There are 6-7,000 individuals to test. Looking at ports, aviation, MIQ facilities plus sample of community. 
  • 49:27 Prioritisation of testing and whether all border and MIQ staff should be tested
  • 49:41 Clarification on why specific numbers of tests done aren’t available
  • 50:01 Testing rates of staff at border and MIQ prior to new cases 
  • 50:31 MIQ and border staff also have health checks at facilities when turn up to work. This has been augmented with testing being rolled out. 
  • 51:08 Comment on testing numbers at borders
  • 51:43 Preparation for victims to be able to appear at sentencing for Christchurch terrorist if alert levels change.
  • 52: 28 Rotorua testing facility availability. Reminder hours extended, and reminder that testing is free at GP. And quick because NHI numbers on hand at GP.
  • 53:23 Timeframe of announcement that the family visited Taupo. Reminder that steps are taken to get people in isolation quickly and prior to public announcements. Reminder of value of COVID tracer app in keeping record of where been.
  • 54:38 Workers at workplaces that positive cases worked and where they may have been visited

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