Ashley Bloomfield confirms 13 new cases of Covid-19 in the community, more expected

There are 13 new Covid cases in Auckland and they all will now go into quarantine.

All of the 13 cases are linked to the original four confirmed cases from the new outbreak in South Auckland.

Family members of confirmed cases may also be required to go into quarantine, director general of health Ashley Bloomfield says.

Positive case visited aged care centre

One of the people who've tested positive has visited an aged care facility in the Waikato which Bloomfield said he wouldn't name yet as family members were still being notified.

The visit was when the person wasn't displaying symptoms but they developed symptoms the next day.

All staff and residents in the unit will be tested.

In managed isolation there is one new case - a woman in her 30s who arrived from the Philippines

That brings total number of active cases to 36.

Given all these cases are linked, they're being treated as clusters and Bloomfield said they "fully expected" more cases.

The new Covid cases in Auckland community

One of the cases is the Mt Albert Grammar School student who is a relative of one of the already confirmed cases.

The student wasn't symptomatic at school so the chance of exposure by anyone in the school community is low, said Bloomfield.

But they should monitor their health and contact Healthline if needed.

Three of the cases are Americold employees and another seven are family members of these employees.

All staff across all sites are being tested.

Another case is an employee of Finance Now - they were admitted to North Shore Hospital but have since been discharged. One of their family members is another confirmed case.

All confirmed cases are now to be managed in a quarantine facility.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the latest numbers showed the "seriousness of the situation" but said it was being dealt with an urgent, calm and methodical way.

She said we know a cluster "grows before it slows" and we should expect to see that happen again

Officials were still tracking down the source of the cluster - known as the index case.

Aucklanders should work from home when they can and only go out for essential items, and should wear a face covering if they do go out for exercise, food or a test.

Where Covid cases who visited Rotorua went

Testing is available for anyone who was in these places at the same time the confirmed cases visited in Rotorua:

• 3.30pm - They checked into the Waioura Hotel
• 8pm - They dined at the Herb and Spice restaurant
• 2.30pm - visited the Pak n Save
• 3.30pm - Heritage Farm
• 4pm - Skyline Gondola and luge
• 8am - made a day trip down to Taupo for a sailing trip and all other visitors and staff will be tested.
• 3pm - returned to Heritage Farm
• Had dinner at Burger Fuel then headed back home.

The Ministry of Health utilised the alert function on the Covid Tracer app for the first time to alert people who were recorded as being in the same location as the confirmed cases on their trip to Rotorua.

There have been about 986,000 downloads of the Covid Tracer app - which is up 338,000 in the last 48 hours.

'No blame or shame

Bloomfield said his priority was to make sure the virus didn't take hold in communities.

He said there was no blame on anyone who had caught Covid-19.

"There is no blame or shame in having Covid-19 - the virus is the problem ... people are the solution."

He thanked people for being tested.

It's important to note any positive case is isolated along with their families.

Today's test results reveal the first trends from the push for mass testing, following the re-emergence of community transmission on Tuesday.

It follows the Herald revealing three more cases at an Auckland coolstore linked to the outbreak.

Bloomfield confirmed this morning a Mt Albert Grammar student in Auckland had tested positive - a person who was a close contact of the family whose members have tested positive.

He did not know if the student was one of the four probable cases announced yesterday.

He said some of the original family who had tested positive were in a quarantine facility but not all of them.

Cabinet ministers will meet tomorrow to decide whether Auckland might be eased into alert level 2, stay at level 3, or moved to full lockdown.

Tomorrow's Cabinet decision on the future of the lockdown will depend on factors including the extent of the new Covid-19 outbreak, the containment of known chains of transmission, and whether the source of infection has been found.

Bloomfield would not say this morning how he thought the decision would go.

"We are getting all our information together so we can get the best possible advice. I feel confident we will have a lot more good information to inform a good decision," he told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking.

Meanwhile, the Lakes District Health Board has released further information about where two people who tested positive for Covid-19 visited while in Rotorua, including the Fat Dog cafe on Sunday, August 9 between 1.30pm and 2.30pm and Burger Fuel Redwoods on August 10 between 7pm and 8pm.

For more information visit covid19.govt.nz.

Rules for Alert Levels:

Alert Level 4 — Lockdown

Likely that the disease is not contained and community transmission is occurring.

• Range of measures that can be applied locally or nationally

• People instructed to stay at home in their bubble other than for essential personal movement.

• Safe recreational activity is allowed in the local area.

• Travel is severely limited.

• All gatherings cancelled and all public venues closed.

• Businesses closed except for essential services, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics, petrol stations and lifeline utilities.

• Educational facilities closed.

• Rationing of supplies and requisitioning of facilities possible.

• Reprioritisation of healthcare services.

Alert Level 3 — Restrict

Community transmission might be happening.

• Range of measures that can be applied locally or nationally.

• People instructed to stay home in their bubble other than for essential personal movement — including to go to work, school if they have to or for local recreation.

• Physical distancing of 2 metres outside home including on public transport, or 1 metre in controlled environments like schools and workplaces.

• Bubbles must stay within their immediate household bubble but can expand this to reconnect with close family/whānau, or bring in caregivers or support isolated people. This extended bubble should remain exclusive.

• Schools between years 1 to 10 and Early Childhood Education centres can safely open but will have limited capacity. Children should learn at home if possible.

• People must work from home unless that is not possible.

• Businesses can open premises, but cannot physically interact with customers.

• Low-risk local recreation activities are allowed.

• Public venues are closed. This includes libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds, markets.

• Gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed but only for wedding services, funerals and tangihanga. Physical distancing and public health measures must be maintained.

• Healthcare services use virtual, non-contact consultations where possible.

• Inter-regional travel is highly limited to, for example, essential workers, with limited exemptions for others.

• People at high risk of severe illness such as older people and those with existing medical conditions are encouraged to stay at home where possible, and take additional precautions when leaving home. They may choose to work.

Alert Level 2 — Reduce

The disease is contained, but the risk of community transmission remains. Risk assessment. Household transmission could be occurring. Single or isolated cluster outbreaks.

• People can reconnect with friends and family, and socialise in groups of up to 100, go shopping or travel domestically if following public health guidance.

• Keep physical distancing of 2 metres from people you don't know when out in public or in retail stores. Keep 1 metre physical distancing in controlled environments like workplaces, where practical.

• No more than 100 people at gatherings, including weddings, birthdays, funerals and tangihanga.

• Businesses can open to the public if following public health guidance including physical distancing and record keeping. Alternative ways of working are encouraged where possible.

• Hospitality businesses must keep groups of customers separated, seated and served by a single person.

• Maximum of 100 people at a time in a defined space.

• Sport and recreation activities are allowed, subject to conditions on gatherings, record keeping, and physical distancing where practical.

• Public venues such as museums, libraries and pools can open if they comply with public health measures and ensure 1 metre physical distancing and record keeping.

• Event facilities, including cinemas, stadiums, concert venues and casinos can have more than 100 people at a time, provided there are no more than 100 in a defined space, and the groups do not mix.

• Health and disability care services operate as normally as possible.

• It is safe to send your children to schools, early learning services and tertiary education. There will be appropriate measures in place.

• People at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, for example those with underlying medical conditions, especially if not well-controlled, and older people, are encouraged to take additional precautions when leaving home. They may work if they agree with their employer that they can do so safely.

Alert Level 1 — Prepare

The disease is contained in New Zealand. COVID-19 is uncontrolled overseas.

• Isolated household transmission could be occurring in New Zealand.

• Range of measures that can be applied locally or nationally

• Border entry measures to minimise risk of importing COVID-19 cases.

• Intensive testing for COVID-19.

• Rapid contact tracing of any positive case.

• Self-isolation and quarantine required.

• Schools and workplaces open, and must operate safely.

• No restrictions on personal movement but people are encouraged to maintain a record of where they have been.

• No restrictions on gatherings but organisers encouraged to maintain records to enable contact tracing.

• Stay home if you're sick, report flu-like symptoms.

• Wash and dry your hands, cough into your elbow, don't touch your face.

• No restrictions on domestic transport — avoid public transport or travel if you're sick.

• No restrictions on workplaces or services but they are encouraged to maintain records to enable contact tracing.

 This article was first published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.