There is one new case of COVID-19 in managed isolation in New Zealand today.
It has been 90 days since the last case of COVID-19 was acquired locally from an unknown source.
Today’s case is a woman in her 20s who arrived in New Zealand from Ireland via Dubai on 24 July. Her positive result is from day 3 testing at the Rydges facility in Rotorua. She has now been transferred to Auckland for quarantine.
There are no recovered cases to report today, meaning the number of active cases in New Zealand is 24.
There is no one in New Zealand receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19.
Our total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is now 1210, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.
Yesterday our laboratories completed 2,523 tests, of which 2,226 were in the community, and 257 were in managed isolation and quarantine facilities.
That brings the total number of tests completed to date 462,590.
“The first thing I want to do is to acknowledge the 18 people affected by this privacy breach,” said Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. “We have been in contact with them all to apologise, 17 of whom we spoke to in person, and to keep them informed.
“In terms of the actions the Ministry needs to take related to the breach, the immediate action was to cease sharing this information to external parties as there is not the same need to do so.
“At the same time, we have reviewed the list of organisations and people who would receive this information should it be required again in future, to ensure there is a clear reason for them to receive it.
“I should say that there was already a clear policy in place and the information was shared in line with that.
“Should personal information be required to be shared with external parties in the near term, we will distribute this using a secure process including the use of password protection for any emailed information.
“We have also issued a breach of contract notice to the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust. This is in line with the legal requirements of our contract.
“I want to say that every day we have people who work in the health sector who have access to New Zealanders’ health information. I know they take that responsibility to keep this information private extremely seriously.”
COVID-19 case in South Korea
We continue to receive and analyse information about the traveller who recently tested positive upon arrival in South Korea.
There continues to be no evidence of transmission in New Zealand involving this case.
The public health risk is considered low and all domestic contacts of this case tested so far have returned negative results. Further contact tracing – and where appropriate testing – is taking place.
We want to thank all contacts who have been tested. We continue to encourage everyone who is offered a test to take this up. Testing is a very important part of the overall strategy for keeping New Zealand and New Zealanders safe.
Overnight, we received the result of a second PCR test from Korean authorities. This result was positive.
As we have said previously surrounding this case, we have been considering four possibilities around the case: that it may have been a false positive result, that it may be an old infection which has returned a positive result, that it was a case recently acquired in transit or that it was a case recently acquired in New Zealand.
With a second positive PCR, we are now discounting the possibility of a false positive.
In terms of other actions:
Close contact tracing of passengers on the domestic flight this person was on from Auckland to Christchurch prior to their departure for Singapore is now complete.
The person’s movements in Christchurch are being tracked successfully by Community Public Health. We also want to thank the local businesses who have cooperated with this process.
We are continuing to follow up on the individual’s wider movements while they were in New Zealand.
While the risk is low, as part of the targeted surveillance, public health officials will also be doing some additional contact tracing work in the South Auckland area where the person was based and in Queenstown where they visited in early July.
The traveller was in Queenstown for a very limited period from 1 – 4 July and was not there during the school holidays.
Because we have been provided with an outline of their movements, we are confident we have identified the interactions there.
The targeted surveillance will include ensuring that close contacts – or casual contacts and other people who have or may have had symptoms or are concerned about having been in contact – can be tested. This testing will of course be free.
We want to thank this individual and their household contacts for the detailed information they have provided about their movements while in New Zealand.
It’s an important reminder to us all about continuing to record our movements and to have up to date contacts available for public health officials to find us, if this needs to happen rapidly.
Anyone concerned about their health as a result of this update can call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.
NZ COVID Tracer
NZ COVID Tracer has now recorded 621,400 registered users. There have been 82,287 posters created to date and 1,604,609 scans.
Today, the Ministry of Health has released an update to the NZ COVID Tracer app to make it a more comprehensive contact tracing tool and increase the number of New Zealanders who can use it.
We’ll provide further details in a statement this afternoon however the main new feature is the ability to add manual entries to your ‘digital diary’, either at the time or retrospectively.
This means New Zealanders can now record their visits to locations that don’t have a QR code on display, such as visits to friends and whanau, which means we can now use the app to maintain a complete – and private – record of everywhere we go.
The second new feature is that the app is now compatible with phones that use Android 6 and iOS 11, which means about 95 percent of smartphone users.