The All of Government COVID-19 National Response provided an update at 1.00 pm today.
- Mike Bush, Commissioner of Police – update on Covid-19 national response
- Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Director-General of Health – health update.
Director-General Ashley Bloomfield gave an update on the health response to COVID-19.
Health key points
- Latest case numbers, hospital admissions and other information is available on our media release: 76 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.
- We continue to investigate a number of clusters.
- An increase in the number of clusters in recent days, and the growth of spread from these clusters, once again reinforces the absolute importance of staying home during Level 4. This is the best thing we can all do to stop the spread of COVID-19. This will save lives.
- Our capacity to do contact tracing is increasing. We have about 100 people in our national contact centre and this number is increasing daily. Sometimes it can take a number of phone-calls before someone is successfully contacted. If we can't contact someone on the phone we can work with other agencies, such as the police, to visit that address.
Keeping ourselves safe
- Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home They shouldn't leave the house.
- Hand-washing is still a major part of keeping ourselves safe.
- Supermarkets and other places are putting in distancing measures.
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- PPE is one part of keeping safe, in terms of keeping yourself safe from infection and passing on the infection.
- We are making sure all our front-line health workforce (pharmacy, midwives etc) do have masks should they need to wear them.
- Not everybody in a health care facility needs to wear personal protective equipment. Most care will be for situations where people do not have any risk of COVID-19 and they will take normal precautions.
- Information for essential workers in health and non-health workplaces on using personal protective equipment is available on our website.
West Coast case
- The woman who died in the West Coast had presented with symptoms of influenza. Following this we have suggested to DHBs that anyone who comes into ED who has a lower respiratory tract infection will be treated as COVID-19 unless proven otherwise. This will mean appropriate measures are taken with personal protection.
- All our hospitals have the capacity to ventilate people if they need it. In any illness the decision to ventilate someone is a clinical and family decision. Not everybody who gets COVID-19 will be ventilated.
- We need to keep our hospitals COVID-19 free. A key part of this is to ensure anyone coming into the hospital is not symptomatic.
- More than 800,000 influenza vaccines have been distributed to vaccinations providers.
- This ensures vaccines are available to vaccinate our priority groups, such as those over 65 years old, pregnant women and children with a history of respiratory illness and frontline workers.
- It's great that so many New Zealanders are keen to protect themselves by getting the flu vaccine.
- It's worth noting that influenza immunisation doesn’t normally start until April, and the flu season doesn’t normally start until late May.
- So we ask for people’s patience while our health system works through any backlogs. There will be more stock available in the first half of April.
- Flutracking is an online survey that asks if you have had a fever or cough in the last week which can help us track COVID-19.
- Registering online will help our surveillance efforts by providing early detection of community spread of the flu and also of COVID-19 symptoms.
- We encourage people to register online at www.flutracking.net.
- This is a practical thing everyone can do to help us monitor flu and COVID-19 symptoms throughout NZ.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush gave an update from Police on compliance and responded to questions.
Police key points
- Staying home saves live - Stay put, stay local, stay close to home and keep your distancing.
- Everyone needs to comply and police will be ensuring that people comply.
- Police want to educate people in the first instance. Action will be taken for persistent breaches. Three people have been arrested, and they had all been warned before.
- Tourists are strongly advised not to move around the country and to stay put.
- There has been a significant decline in general arrests which is helping police redeploy into other areas, like COVID-19
- Two police staff have tested positive for COVID-19. Both are at home in self-isolation.
- Processes are in place to assess the health of returning New Zealanders and ensure they're compliant with the self-isolation requirements.
- The Commissioner acknowledged the essential workers who are doing a fantastic job to keep the country safe.