There are 78 new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand made up of 73 new confirmed cases and 5 probable cases. This is as at 9.30 am this morning.
More details of the new cases, including the probable cases, will be provided via our website shortly and updated as new details emerge.
There are 27 individuals that we can confirm have recovered.
We have seven people in hospital with COVID-19 - all in a stable condition. There are three in Wellington regional hospital, two in Nelson hospital and one each in Waikato and Northland hospitals. None are in ICU.
Our laboratories are working to process and report test results as quickly as possible. Yesterday we processed 2417 tests around the country. The total number of tests processed to date is 12683.
Anyone who has been tested is expected to be in strict self-isolation until advised of the result of their test – that means effectively quarantining themselves from other members of their family.
Our public health staff actively investigate every case they are notified about and activate contact tracing.
Of our new cases today, the majority still have a link to overseas travel, including being in the same household as someone who has returned from overseas, have attended a known event or linked to a cluster of other cases or are close contacts of a confirmed case.
We are currently investigating several possible clusters:
· Marist College in Auckland
· the World Hereford cattle conference in Queenstown
· a wedding in Wellington
· a trip by a Wellington group of friends to the US
· a contact with the Ruby Princess in Hawkes Bay
· a rest home in Hamilton.
In summary, the combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 283.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
It’s important our health workers and those working in essential services have access to PPE. It is already available for health workers and we are also providing a supply to essential workers.
Measures to address immediate needs for PPE equipment are being taken with urgency.
For example, later today we will be sending 600,000 masks to DHBs.
We are also continuing to manufacture more masks in New Zealand, more than 200,000 produced each day and source masks and equipment from overseas.
Change to pharmaceutical schedule
To address issues of stockpiling of medicines PHARMAC will be making an announcement later today of a change to the pharmaceutical schedule to address this.
There is no issue with the medicine supply chain.
From later tonight, pharmacists will be limited to providing only one month’s supply of prescribed medicines, or a limit of 3 months for the supply of oral contraceptives.
There will be no change to the way prescriptions are issued, it is simply a change to the amount of medicine able to be distributed by the pharmacy for each prescribed medicine.
Pharmacists still able be to make exceptions to provide additional amounts where people live remotely or for individuals with disability and would have difficulty in more regular refills of prescriptions.
These are unprecedented times for New Zealand and other countries around the globe. We are all in this together. We will expect the number of cases to increase for at least the next ten days. If we all do our bit, and we break the chain of transmission, slow the spread of COVID-19 and we will be able to get on top of this.
As always look after yourselves, look after your loved ones and look after your community.