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708 total cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand

708 total cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand

708 total cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand

There are 61 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand, bringing the total to 708. 14 people are in hospital, with 2 in intensive care in stable conditions.

Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay stepped in for Dr Bloomfield at the media conference today. The key development is the new case definition for clinical practitioners to diagnose. The broader definition now includes anyone with respiratory symptoms which are consistent with COVID-19, regardless of travel or close contact.

Dr McElnay says they will be growing the testing capacity to bring in more labs in order to reach their goal of 5,000 tests a day.

Dr McElnay also apologised on behalf of the Ministry of Health for releasing the names of two patients on their website without permission. “We apologise unreservedly for that…and we have put in place processes to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” she says.

Lastly, Dr McElnay says that while the lower numbers are encouraging, we should not expect this to continue. “The numbers are encouraging but its too early to say what that actually means,” she says. The Ministry of Health says they expect to see an increase as testing ramps up.

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