The Director-General of Health has reminded the public of the rules around isolation as hundreds of Covid-19 case contacts are identified.
There were more than 360 contacts formally identified as of the Thursday 1pm coronavirus update, with more expected.
Today, Dr Ashley Bloomfield said: "Isolation by close contacts when in alert level 4 requires them to isolate separate from other household members. So it's not isolating within the household bubble.
"As of [Thursday] morning, more than 360 individual contacts have been identified - this does exclude contacts from large settings like Avondale College and the Central Auckland Church of Christ where there is still an assessment under way.
"Throughout today that number will continue to increase significantly...
"If people have been at a location of interest remember ... to isolate if you are not already, in other words if you are an essential worker. It does mean you can't go out to the supermarket or the pharmacy or anywhere else while you are doing that. Call Healthline for advice."
Bloomfield reiterated that under the latest section 70 order, people were legally required to isolate and be tested if they were at a location of interest.
"There is a separate section 70 notice that applies to the household contacts of a person who has been at a location of interest. Under that section 70 notice, and this is a new thing, they are required to isolate as well - and this means they can't go out for any purpose and if they are an essential worker they have to isolate - until that person who has been at a location of interest has returned a negative test after day five."
The section 70 orders
A section 70 order was issued on 17 August for any person who attended the locations of interest at the times and dates set out by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
The order requires them to:
- Isolate or quarantine at their usual place of residence (which for visitors, includes accommodation)
- Report themselves for medical testing by contacting Healthline (0800 358 5453) and advise that they are a contact of a case of Covid-19
- Submit themselves for medical testing for Covid-19 at a time and place appropriate to their current location and the time of their last potential exposure to Covid-19, as set out in guidance published on the Ministry of Health website
- Except as required to report and submit for testing as directed: a) remain isolated or quarantined at their usual place of residence for a time as advised by, or on behalf of a Medical Officer of Health, but: b) no longer than 14 days from the date of their last potential exposure to Covid-19, as set out in guidance published on the Ministry of Health website
Another section 70 order was issued on 18 August for any household contacts of people who had been at a location of interest at the times and dates specified by the MOH.
The order, made on 18 August, requires people to "isolate or quarantine at their usual place of residence (which for visitors, includes accommodation), except as required to report and submit for testing, until the person who has been at a location of interest has received a negative day five test or until after an earlier negative test, if contact between the two people has ceased".
Failure to comply with section 70 orders is an offence under the Health Act 1956.
The self isolation rules
The MOH says "self-isolation involves isolating away from other members of your household (for example, have no physical contact, minimise time in shared spaces and do not share items such as cutlery and linen), whilst you remain in your own home".
You should self-isolate for at least 14 days since your last contact or exposure to the confirmed case and until you are told you no longer need to do so by a public health official.
Public health officials ask you to stay at home if you are a casual plus contact, a casual contact who is experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, a member of the general public who is experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, a household member of a close contact, or a household member of a close contact who is experiencing Covid-19 symptoms.
Staying at home is simple - it means staying within your house or residence.
What it means to self-isolate at home:
- You should not go to work or school. If you are unable to work from home during this time, your employer (or you, if you are self-employed) may be able to apply for leave support to help support you. For more information visit the Work and Income website.
- You should maintain a 2-metre distance from your household members and should not share a bed or bedroom with any member of your household
- It is important that you do not use public transport, taxis or similar transport methods
- You should not have visitors in your home (including tradespeople)
- If you have no symptoms you can go outside and leave your property, but you need to avoid contact with other people. It's ok to go for a walk, run or ride your bike, as long as you stay at least 2 metres away from other people. If you have any symptoms, you should not leave your property to exercise.
- Where possible, ask friends or family to shop for you. If this is not possible, order supplies online. Make sure any deliveries are left outside your home for you to collect. If you need assistance, the Ministry of Social Development has information about where you can go for services and support, what you can get help with, and contact information. Visit the Ministry of Social Development website.
- Minimise the time you spend in shared spaces such as bathrooms, kitchens and sitting rooms as much as possible and keep shared spaces well ventilated
- If you need medical assistance, call ahead to your health provider and tell them you are a Close Contact. Clean your hands with hand sanitiser and put on a face mask before you enter any healthcare facility.
This is an official Covid-19 ALERT.
All of New Zealand is now at Covid-19 alert level 4.
The alert level will be reviewed after 3 days for all areas EXCEPT Auckland & Coromandel Peninsula which is likely to remain at level 4 for an initial period of 7 days.
A community case of Covid-19 has been identified.
Stay at home where possible & follow the Alert Level 4 guidelines. This will stop the spread of Covid-19 and SAVE LIVES.
Everyone is asked to:
Wear a mask and keep a 2 metre distance from others whenever you leave your home.
If you are sick, call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice about getting tested.
Keep on scanning QR codes whenever you leave your home.
Practice good hygiene - wash hands often.
Services including supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics & petrol stations will stay open at Alert Level 4. Face coverings are mandatory for all people - both employees and customers - at businesses and services operating at Alert Level 4 involving customer contact.
For more information on Alert Level 4 go to [the government website www.covid19.govt.nz]
RNZ is the statutory Lifeline Utility responsible for radio broadcasting under the Emergency Management Act 2002 and it has a memorandum of understanding with Government which has been activated to help deal with potential health issues related to the pandemic. RNZ's Lifeline Utility obligations do not affect our editorial independence as a public media organisation or the rigour of our news gathering and reporting operations.
As New Zealand's Lifeline Utility radio broadcaster, RNZ is required to maintain essential public information channels and news during times of national emergency and we are committed to supporting all New Zealanders.
We are also committed to looking after the health and well-being of our staff.
RNZ will continue to provide essential information services - broadcasting and publishing critical public service announcements on air, on our website and via social media channels. Comprehensive news will be available on air and via our website and digital services.
If necessary RNZ Concert and RNZ Pacific will carry news and information from RNZ National. Parliament will continue to be broadcast on the AM network when the House is sitting. As the country's public service media organisation, RNZ is committed to supporting all New Zealanders.
Kia Kaha - Stay Strong