58 new cases of COVID-19 - 31 March
31/03/2020 6:18:58 p.m.

Tuesday 31 March 2020

58 new cases of COVID-19

Today, there are 48 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 10 new probable cases. There are no additional deaths to report.
There are now 74 reported cases which we can confirm have recovered. The combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 647, 58 more than yesterday.
These numbers are encouraging but they are far from a cause for early celebration. New Zealand needs to continue its vigilance. The numbers today show it’s more important than ever to continue to abide by the Level 4 conditions and observe the lockdown. That’s the best way we will continue to make progress in the fight against COVID-19. Today we can report 14 people in hospital with COVID-19. The locations are as follows:
• Tairawhiti/Gisborne Hospital - 1
• Waikato Hospital – 1
• West Coast/Grey Base Hospital - 1
• Whangarei Hospital - 1
• Canterbury – 1
• Auckland City Hospital – 1
• Hawkes Bay Hospital – 1
• Taranaki – 1
• Middlemore Hospital – 1
• Wairau Hospital, Blenheim – 1
• Nelson Hospital – 1
• Wellington City Hospital – 3

Two of these people are in ICU. For privacy reasons we won’t be providing other details on these patients. Our laboratories are working to process and report test results as quickly as possible. Over the last seven days our average daily test number is 1777.
As usual, people being tested are expected to be in strict self-isolation until advised of the result of their test.
We are still seeing a strong link to overseas travel (53%), as well as links to confirmed cases within New Zealand (29%) and community transmission (1%).




Data is being updated on the Ministry's website each afternoon at https://www.health.govt.nz/news-media/media-releases/76-new-confirmed-cases-covid-19

We are continuing to actively investigate and contact trace a number of clusters. Again, the way clusters can rapidly spread reinforces the vital importance of following the Alert Level 4 conditions. 

The Ministry of Health is opening its national reserves of personal protective equipment to make 7 million masks available over coming weeks. We will begin an initial distribution of 1.2 million masks from the national stock to DHBs within the next 48 hours, so they are able to get masks to community health and disability workers who need them.
We want our frontline workers to be safe. There is now clear advice about when to use PPE on our website to help keep them safe. We are also conscious of the fact that we want people to feel safe, and access to PPE is an important part of that.
It's also important that workers know how to use PPE correctly so that they are safe and that they do this alongside all other infection control practices including hand washing and distancing, and most importantly not going to work if they are symptomatic or close contacts of people with COVID-19.
The Ministry of Health is putting in place a national approach to distribution of PPE and is successfully sourcing additional supplies from overseas on a continuous basis.

The Ministry today published a series of mathematical models that have helped to inform its advice warning of the consequences of not moving early to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reinforcing the importance of the current lockdown and other government measures.
The modelling shows that without the actions currently being taken, the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 would exact a high price in New Zealand in terms of its impact on our health services, including our intensive care units, and deaths.
What is consistent across all the models is that we had a stark choice – let the virus spread unchecked and see large numbers of New Zealanders get sick, our health system overrun and many people dying, or taking firm measures to save lives.
Even with the strong measures in place to stamp out the virus the modelling is still predicting there could be a heavy toll on our health system and loss of life.
This shows how seriously we need to take the virus. It shows how important it is to stick to the rules of the lockdown and for us all to maintain measures that reduce the risk of the virus entering the country.
The modelling reports are available here: