Daily Covid-19 update – fewer new cases but Sunday

From today’s briefing from Dr Ashley Bloomfield:

  • 48 new confirmed cases of covid-19 and 10 probable cases (so +58, down from +75 yesterday)
  • 74 people in total have recovered
  • 14 people currently in hospital, two in intensive care who are stable
  • 647 total of cases in New Zealand (up from 589)

That’s a smaller increase than over the last few days but Dr Bloomfield says he does not expect a drop overall – lower numbers may reflect a lower number of tests done on Sunday – fewer couriers on Sunday – holding up test results.

He still says he expects increases over the next 7 to 10 days (it’s been 7-10 for a few days now) and then hopes for a decline.

Summary

As at 9.00 am, 31 March 2020
Total to date New in last 24 hours
Number of confirmed cases in New Zealand 600 48
Number of probable cases 47 10
Number of confirmed and probable cases 647 58
Number of cases in hospital 14
Number of recovered cases 74 11
Number of deaths 1

More from RNZ Live:

A comment on modelling – a number of modelling reports have been published. These were updated during the last month to take into account newly emerging evidence. They paint a sobering picture of what the impact of Covid-19 in Aotearoa would be if we were not taking a strict approach, Bloomfield says.

We need to take this virus seriously, he says, and part of taking it seriously is getting the best possible outcome from the level four measures put in place.

Ventilators – we have 533 in NZ. There are also quite a number in the private sector that can be used and more have been ordered from overseas.

Training for medical staff to use ventilators is also underway.

Bloomfield says he cannot be 100% confident Covid-19 isn’t already transmitting through hospitals – but the death of the Greymouth woman triggered changes in the way respiratory illnesses are treated.

Sarah Stuart-Black:

A Covid-19 Local Government response unit has been formed. These measures will help people access medication and food and will help the elderly and disabled.

Wet wipes are a major problem for council’s sewers. Use has increased markedly. Disposing them down the toilet leads to blockage. Always put wet wipes in the rubbish, not the toilet she says.

54 people in temporary accommodation are being flown to Wellington and Christchurch to return home.

People have been congregating in groups at parks and beaches – please don’t gather where others are, don’t take your children to playgrounds or schools.

The Kiwi tradition of passing something over the fence to your neighbour is not encouraged.


The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said.

The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary.

“Since we went into isolation as a nation most New Zealanders have done the right thing and stayed at home to break the chain of transmission, which saves lives,” Peeni Henare said.

“Extending the State of National Emergency ensures we have all the resources, support and powers we need to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

“This includes ensuring our civil defence emergency management workers can carry out critical work during this time including managing roads, traffic and public places, issuing first aid, and providing food, shelter and accommodation.

“But this global pandemic has also called on every New Zealander to make sacrifices in their daily lives and we thank them for that,” Peeni Henare said.

Each week, the Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management will provide the Minister with advice on whether the State of National Emergency should be extended again. This will include consideration of the current COVID-19 Alert Level, as Alert Levels decisions and State of Emergency decisions are complementary to each other, but one does not dictate the other.


COVID-19 hospitalisation and death rates estimated

A new study in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal reveals the latest hospitalisation and death rates from COVID-19 in mainland China.

Nearly one in five people over the age of 80 who are infected with COVID-19 are likely to require hospitalisation, compared with around 1 percent of people under 30, according to an analysis of 3,665 cases.

The death rate from confirmed COVID-19 cases is estimated at 1.38 percent, while the overall death rate, which includes unconfirmed cases, is estimated at 0.66 percent.


A bob each way for Easter – Jacinda Ardern (RNZ Live):

Easter Trading – it has been agreed that supermarkets will be closed on Good Friday as usual , but can open on Easter Sunday.

Decision was made to avoid people rushing to the supermarket before it closes for two days.

Sounds sensible. Two days off so close together could have been a problem, one day should be manageable.

Case summary – 647 currently. 1391 tests found the 58 new cases overnight. There have been 21,384 tests have been conducted in total.

It’s too soon to draw conclusions on New Zealander’s position, but we do not have enough testing to tell us what we need to know. The more we test, the more it tells us how far our community transmission is and it tells us where it is.

It has been recommended that testing requirements be broadened. People who don’t have a history of travel or exposure to another case can be tested.

It may take a few days for these changes to take effect, but Ardern expects testing to grow – and it needs to grow.

More tests may mean more confirmed cases for a while.

The thing to watch will be whether hospitalisations increase, and also critical cases.

Some differences between wage subsidy schemes in Australia and NZ. Australia’s scheme is paying out in May, while immediacy was important to us.

There have been no decisions as to whether the scheme will be extended further than 12 weeks.

Covid-19 daily update (MOH and police) – 78 new cases, total 283

Today’s update as usual from MoH’s Director General Dr Ashley Bloomfield:

78 new cases (73 confirmed, 5 probable) – quite a jump to a total of 283.

Summary

As at 9.30 am, 26 March 2020
Total to date New in last 24 hours
Number of confirmed cases in New Zealand 262 73
Number of probable cases 21 5
Number of confirmed and probable cases 283 78
Number of cases in hospital 7 2
Number of recovered cases 27 5

Map of cases - tabular data to follow.

Details: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-current-cases

Tests yesterday 2,417 and total tests 12,683 – average per day over the last week 1,400 which may partially explain the jump in number of cases.

Most cases are still linked to overseas travel, but there are also ‘clusters’ – a Wellington group were at a wedding. They are still dealing with cases related to the Ruby Princess cruise ship when it was in Napier.

From Pharmac – there has been some stockpiling so from tonight all funded prescriptions will be limited to one month’s supply (3 months for contraceptives). There is no shortage, they just need to control supply chains.

How many cases? “It may get into the thousands”.

And also Police Commissioner Mike Bush.

He first refers to the guilty plea of the Christchurch mosque murderer.

Day 1 about how the police go about responding to level 4. The majority of new Zealanders are complying.

Initially police will use their discretion and educate people when finding people way from their homes. Some will be essential workers, some will have legitimate health or food shopping reasons for travel. Some stopped by the police say they knew nothing about the lockdown.

He said that those returning to NZ from overseas today without a plan for isolation have been met by numerous officials (customs, police etc) and then triaged to locations for self isolation.

360 arrived at Auckland Airport this morning, 8 were deemed to have symptoms and a risk. 160 had no plans and also needed ‘facilitated’ with being put somewhere safe.


RNZ Live:

Marist College in Auckland says there are now 11 cases of Covid-19 at the school and more are expected tomorrow.

In a statement, the board chair Stephen Dallow, says seven teachers and four students have tested positive.

He says the principal, Raechelle Taulu, is among those who tested positive today.

The entire school of about 750 students, as well as staff, is classed as close contacts and Mr Dallow asked them to ensure strict isolation rules.

That shows how quickly and widely it can spread.