COVID-19 cases rise by 78, total reaches 283 

breaking By Jessica Tyson

The total number of Coronavirus cases in New Zealand has risen by 78 cases overnight.

Director-General from the Ministry of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says 73 of those were confirmed cases and five were probable cases.

“The combined total of confirmed cases in New Zealand today is 283,” he said during an announcement today.

Meanwhile, a total of 27 individuals with the virus have recovered.

Patients in hospital

Seven people remain in hospital, all in a stable condition.

“Three are in Wellington Regional Hospital, two in Nelson, one in Waikato and one in Northland.”

There are no patients in intensive care.

Tests processed

Dr Bloomfield says 2,417 tests were processed yesterday, so the total number of tests processed in New Zealand is 12,683.

The average amount of tests processed a day is around 1400.

“Anyone tested is to remain in strict isolation.”

Dr Bloomfield says the majority of cases still have a link to overseas travel, “including being in the same household of someone who has been overseas.”

The ministry is investigating several possible clusters; from Marist College in Auckland, the World Hereford Conference in Queenstown, a wedding in Wellington, a group of people who were part of a trip recently to the United States, and a group of people who have had with contact from someone on the Princess cruise ship.

Change to pharmaceutical schedule

To address issues of stockpiling of medicines PHARMAC has announced a change to the pharmaceutical schedule, says Dr Bloomfield.

"From later tonight, pharmacists will be limited to providing only one month’s supply of prescribed medicines, or a limit of three 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."