COVID-19: How long it takes for a coronavirus test to become a 'confirmed case'

The average time between a Kiwi undergoing a COVID-19 test and finding out whether they have coronavirus is 24 hours, the Ministry of Health says.

The Government agency says it's confident the COVID-19 data the Director-General of Health reads out at daily press briefings "reflects the actual number of results" in New Zealand.

Newshub contacted the Ministry of Health after becoming aware of many Kiwis who'd had to wait several days before getting their coronavirus test results back.

A slow test turn-around time could indicate the data read out by Dr Ashley Bloomfield each day is not reflective of New Zealand's actual number of cases, as it would make the data out-of-date.

However, the Ministry says a wait time of just 24 hours is the average, though admitted it may take longer - particularly if your result is negative.

"We recognise that as testing numbers have increased over the recent week, the time taken to deliver results may be slower on occasion," a spokesperson told Newshub.

"We apologise for that and would like to reiterate that our focus is always confirming positive results as a priority, followed by negative results."

The Ministry says there is a delay in test reporting of 24 hours, meaning the average positive case may take a maximum of 48 hours from testing to being tallied in New Zealand's official case figures.

"We are confident however that the case numbers reported each day by Dr Bloomfield reflects the actual number of results."

In recent days, growth in the number of COVID-19 cases announced in the daily 1pm press conference has started to wane. On Tuesday, New Zealand recorded 54 new cases - our smallest increase in two weeks.

The Ministry of Health says this latest development is "encouraging" - particularly as testing capacity has increased over the last two weeks.

"We know how crucial it is to test people for COVID-19 as we work to understand what level of community transmission there may be, and to break the chain of transmission," a spokesperson said.

"Currently eight laboratories are able to test for COVID-19 and by the end of this week, that number should be 10. We're constantly looking at ways to get more labs, which are already operating, testing for COVID-19 and to increase the capacity of existing ones.

"That's one of the reasons our testing per day is below the ever-increasing capacity."

New Zealand currently has 1106 cases of coronavirus. One person has died from the disease on our shores.