Covid 19 coronavirus: Two new cases, both linked to St Margaret’s rest home cluster – New Zealand Herald

There are just two new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today, both linked to the St Margaret’s Hospital and Rest Home cluster in Auckland.

Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said today’s numbers were “encouraging” – but warned there was no room for ignorance of alert level 3 rules.

“It’s been concerning to see some behaviours continue into the weekend. Ultimately this could slow a move to Level 2,” Bloomfield said.

Today’s cases were household contacts of an employee at St Margaret’s rest home, the Ministry of Health said this afternoon.


The total of confirmed and probable cases in this country is now 1487 and 85 per cent of all cases are now considered as recovered.

There are no more deaths.

Eight patients remain in hospital, though none are in intensive care.

On Saturday there were six new cases – a jump on the previous week’s daily numbers.

Before today’s number was released, Professor Michae Baker, of Otago University’s Department of Public Health, said he did not look at new cases in terms of numbers but the key issue was the trend – it was too early to be concerned.

“It’s a bit like the road toll. If you have a bad weekend or a good day, or a bad day, it is the pattern that you’re after.

“So what’s happening over a pattern of a week or longer and what’s happening in these sub-categories. Are we seeing new cases that we don’t know anything about or are we seeing just a continuation of these clusters and if so, are other cases likely to keep emerging or not?”

Baker and colleagues Gordon Purdie and Nick Wilson yesterday published an article on Otago’s Public Health Expert website setting out the explicit categories they want the ministry to routinely supply.


The categories include people who were infected as a household contact of a known case; people who were infected in a healthcare setting; people whose cause of infection is unknown; people identified as infected during testing of asymptomatic groups.

Bloomfield said the numbers today were “encouraging but we can’t take them for granted”.

Every New Zealander still had “a part to play” and there was no excuse to be ignorant of the alert level 3 restrictions.

“We’re now nearly a week into Level 3 and while there could be some excuses early on, everyone should now be more familiar with the rules around increased retail activity and our own social interactions.”

Continuing to be vigilant would be key in supporting a move to Level 2 as soon as possible, Bloomfield said.

“It’s crucial that all New Zealanders stay vigilant and follow the guidelines of physical distancing, keeping to our bubbles, practicing good hand hygiene and if you’re unwell, staying away from others and seeking medical advice,” Bloomfield said.

The number one rule for alert level 3 is to continue to stay home to save lives, the Ministry of Health said.

And if you’re out keep 2m distance from others or 1m within a workplace.

Six cases reported yesterday

Yesterday there were six new cases and another fatality, former Rosewood Rest Home resident, George Hollings, who was in his 80s, bringing the death toll to 20.

Saturday’s six new cases came after a stretch of low numbers, with just one on Monday, two on Tuesday and Wednesday, three on Thursday and Friday.

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Clusters closed

Three significant clusters are closed – a Wellington wedding with 12 infections and two clusters related to travel to the United States, which each peaked at 16 cases.

A Covid-19 cluster is when 10 or more people are infected at the same event or workplace. They are considered closed if there are no new cases for 28 consecutive days – or two incubation periods for the virus.

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Party lockdown

Meanwhile, police have received 1200 public reports of people breaching alert level 3 restrictions and have taken enforcement action against 112 people.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Scott Fraser urged people to resist the temptation to socialise in gatherings that would breach the restrictions.

“Under no circumstances should anyone be having a party under the alert level 3 restrictions.

“Such behaviour could waste all the sacrifices made by our team of five million over the past five weeks.

“No parties, no excuses,” Fraser said.

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