4 new imported cases of COVID-19 - historic case being investigated
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Posted October 16, 2020
Media Release: Ministry of Health
There are four new cases of COVID-19 to report from managed isolation in New Zealand today. There is one suspected historical case currently being investigated, which is not included in today’s reporting numbers.
The first imported case arrived from the Philippines via Hong Kong on October 3 and was taken to a managed isolation facility in Auckland. They tested positive as part of routine day 12 testing and have been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility.
The second imported case arrived from Peru via Mexico and the USA on October 10 and was taken to a managed isolation facility in Christchurch. They tested positive as part of routine day 3 testing.
The third and fourth imported cases both arrived from Hong Kong on October 11 and were taken to a managed isolation facility in Auckland. They tested positive as part of routine day 3 testing and have been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility.
The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is 1,524, which is the number reported to the World Health Organization.
The total number of active cases is 46 – all imported cases. There are no active community cases of COVID-19.
Yesterday, laboratories processed 5,078 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 1,021,931.
Suspected historic case under investigation
Overnight the Ministry of Health has been investigating someone who has returned a weak positive result.
This individual is a recent returnee from the United States and completed their full 14 days in a MIQ facility in September. They were asymptomatic during their time in MIQ and returned two negative tests during this time. They were released from MIQ on September 21.
After becoming unwell this week, they sought medical care. They were subsequently tested for COVID-19, which has returned a weak positive result, indicating an old infection. Health officials have undertaken further testing today to fully confirm this is a historic infection.
A PCR test conducted today has returned a negative result. This follow-up testing result strongly suggests that this is a historical infection. Further results from other tests including serology are still to come.
Health officials are taking precautionary measures and the individual has been transferred to an MIQ facility in Wellington.
As seen with other cases, individuals can return weak positive tests if they have been infected earlier in the year. This case follows a typical pattern of what we have seen in other historical cases.
These cases can emerge after the person has a respiratory illness that is not COVID-19, such as a cold or influenza. Residual remnants of the virus can be picked up through swabbing, with inflammation often bringing forward virus particles that were not previously picked up.