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Now 74 covid-19 cases in Wgtn and Hutt Valley; NZ total up by 61 to 708

Wellington.Scoop
There are now a total of 708 confirmed and probable cases of covid-19 in New Zealand, 61 more than yesterday. Sixty cases are in the Wellington/Capital and Coast district (two more than yesterday) and 14 in the Hutt Valley (one more than yesterday.)

News from Ministry of Health
Today there are 47 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 14 new probable cases. There are no additional deaths. There are 82 cases which have recovered. The combined total of confirmed and probable cases is 708, 61 more than yesterday. These numbers continue to be encouraging but they do not yet signal a turn-around.

Today 16 people remain in hospital with COVID-19.

As reported midnight 31 March, the following is the number of inpatients across all 20 DHBs:
· Tairawhiti/Gisbourne Hospital – 1
· Waikato Hospital – 1 
· Canterbury – 1
· Auckland City Hospital – 1
· Hawkes Bay Hospital – 1
· Taranaki – 1
· Middlemore Hospital – 2
· Wairau Hospital, Blenheim – 1 
· Nelson Hospital – 1 
· Wellington City Hospital – 3
· Palmerston North – 1
· Tauranga – 1
· Dunedin – 1
Two of the 16 in hospital are in ICU and are stable.

For those cases we have information on, we are still seeing a strong link to overseas travel (51%), as well as links to confirmed cases within New Zealand (30%) and community transmission (1%).

We continue to focus on getting more information on community transmission.

Updated Case Definition

The Technical Advisory Group met yesterday and are today issuing a new case definition.

The Case Definition is a guide for health professionals on testing, but also continues to accommodate their clinical judgement in determining testing.

The new case definition is now that anyone with respiratory symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should be considered for testing regardless of travel history or contact with a confirmed case.

This will result in more testing being done which we are also prepared for. Testing capacity is currently 3,700 tests daily, and we are currently doing an average of 1843 tests per day based on the last seven days.

We are increasing capacity to test – currently we have 8 laboratories and by the end of next week that will be ten, with laboratories in Auckland and Tauranga coming on stream and increasing our capacity to more than 4000 tests per day.

Clusters

We are continuing to actively investigate and contact trace a number of clusters. There is the potential within clusters for rapid spread – which is why we identify, test, isolate and investigate these.

Cluster investigations happen at a local level through our DHBs and involve immediate contract tracing and sometimes more broad testing of those contacts and within the community to ensure we get good control, and we get better information about what is happening in that community.

We continue to fine-tune how we report these clusters and we will be updating our website later today to reflect current known significant clusters.

Our contact tracing continues apace. Yesterday we were in contact with 418 close contacts to give them advice and information of the need for strict, monitored self-isolation for 14 days.

Lastly, we are seeking physical distancing not social distancing so it is important that we all keep in contact by phone or through the various options we now have for communicating online. It is important that we again remind people to be considerate to each other, and their neighbours and to be kind.

March 30 and 31: Total cases rises from 589 to 647 [1]

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