COVID-19 cases in NZ reach 589, 63 recovered

By Jessica Tyson

The number of COVID-19 cases in New Zealand has increased by 75 today, reaching 589 in total.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield made the announcement today from parliament.

He said there were no additional deaths and 63 people in total have recovered from the virus.

Meanwhile, 12 people are in hospital with three of them expected to be discharged soon, Dr Bloomfield says.

“There are people in Gisborne Hospital, Waikato hospital, Whangārei hospital, Dunedin Hospital, Auckland Hospital, Nelson Hospital, Wairua Hospital in Blenheim, Taranaki based hospital – each of those hospitals has one person – and Wellington Hospital that has four.”

Two of the patients remain in intensive care.

According to the Ministry of Health website, 27 Māori people and 14 Pacific people have the virus. 

Dr Bloomfield says, of the 455 cases that the Ministry of Health has sufficient information on, 57 percent have a direct link to overseas travel, 26 percent are close contacts of existing cases and 15 percent have both overseas travel or close contacts.

“Just two percent are currently community transmission. That’s around 10 cases we know are definitely community transmission.”

He says 1728 is the average number of tests processed per day.

Information on each case will be loaded to the Ministry of Health website.

Flu vaccinations

Dr Bloomfield says more than 800,000 influenza vaccines have been distributed to vaccination providers.

"This ensures vaccines are available to vaccinate our priority groups, such as those over 65 years old, pregnant women, children with a history of respiratory illness and frontline workers."

He says it's great that so many New Zealanders are keen to protect themselves by getting the flu vaccine.

"It's worth noting that influenza immunisation doesn’t normally start until April, and the flu season doesn’t normally start until late May. So we ask for people’s patience while our health system works through any backlogs. There will be more stock available in the first half of April."