COVID-19: No new cases of coronavirus in the community, one in managed isolation

No new cases of COVID-19 have been detected in the community in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Health confirmed on Sunday.

One new imported case has been recorded in New Zealand's managed isolation facilities (MIQ).

The returnee entered New Zealand on February 16 and tested positive at around day three of their mandatory 14-day stay in managed isolation. The individual's full travel history remains unconfirmed, however they transited in Singapore. 

One previously reported case has been reclassified as 'under investigation', the ministry said, meaning the total number of active cases in New Zealand remains at 51. 

To date, the country has recorded 1994 confirmed cases of the virus.

The total number of tests completed by laboratories to date is 1,658,429, with 7,392 tests processed on Saturday. The seven-day rolling average up to yesterday is 10,230 tests.

Since January 1, the country has recorded 30 historical infections - a person who had previously contracted COVID-19 but has since recovered - out of a total of 184 cases.

Update on contact tracing

Last Sunday, it was announced that a student and her mother and father - Cases A, B and C - had tested positive for the virus in the south Auckland suburb of Papatoetoe. How the first case contracted the virus still remains a mystery, despite extensive investigations by health authorities. 

On Wednesday, it was confirmed that three new cases - Cases D, E and F - had been detected, but were linked to the existing trio. An additional case, Case G - a household contact of D, E and F, was announced on Friday.

The ministry confirmed on Sunday that close contacts from the households, school and travel group associated with the existing cases have returned negative results.

Contact tracing has identified a total of 125 close contacts associated with the cluster - not including the positive cases which have previously been reported.

Three previously reported close contacts have been ruled out on further investigation and one infant is not required to be tested, the ministry said.

Of the remainder, 121 of the close contacts have returned a negative test result.

Health officials are awaiting the test results of three people, all of whom had visited a location of interest, a medical clinic attended by the father - also known as Case C. It is considered to be a low-risk exposure event.

As of 8am on Sunday, a total of 31 close contacts and 1413 casual plus contacts have been identified at Papatoetoe High School. The number of casual plus contacts - between a close contact and a casual contact - has again decreased as these people were not at school at the time of exposure.

Of the casual plus contacts in the Papatoetoe High School community, 1395 have returned negative results and there is just one positive case, Case E. Seventeen results are pending. 

One negative result, reported on Saturday, has been removed from the tally as that person is no longer considered a casual plus contact.

"We do remind all students and staff at the school to please stay home and have a test if they haven't already," the ministry said on Sunday.

Students and staff are expected to return to the school on Monday, February 33 - however, those classified as a close contact will not be able to return until they have been advised by public health officials.

As part of ongoing investigations into the unknown source of the cluster, staff at the Auckland Airport branch of LSG Sky Chefs - a flight catering facility and the workplace of one of the initial cases, Case B - have also been tested.

All nine contacts in the laundry department, where the case is employed, have returned negative results. Of the 444 people in the wider working environment, 388 have tested negative and 55 results are pending.

For the latest information on locations of interest, and to understand if you are a casual or close contact, please see the Ministry of Health's contact tracing locations of interest.

Testing centres

There are nine community-based testing centres operating across Auckland this weekend. They are located in Takanini, Wiri, Otara, Botany, Balmoral, New Lynn, Henderson and Northcote - as well as the dedicated testing site at Papatoetoe High School.

The pop-up testing centre at the school is open over the weekend and nearby community testing centres are operating for extended hours to ensure the school community has convenient access to testing.

For up-to-date information on testing locations nationwide, visit the Healthpoint website.

Staying safe this weekend

The ministry urges Aucklanders to continue adhering to basic public health measures, including:

  • staying home when unwell and seeking advice about a COVID-19 test
  • maintaining good hand hygiene
  • keeping a record of locations and movements by scanning QR codes with the NZ COVID Tracer app
  • enabling the Bluetooth tracing feature in the NZ COVID Tracer app
  • wearing a face covering on public transport and on domestic flights.

New Zealanders are also encouraged to wear face coverings in situations where physical distancing is not possible, like in shops.

Businesses also have an important role to play by displaying QR code posters, inviting customers to scan in as they enter the premises and encouraging patrons to wash or sanitise their hands.