Cohorting (group intake)
Information on this page can be attributed to a managed isolation and quarantine spokesperson.
From 11.59pm on 28 April a new ‘very high risk country’ category was introduced in order to significantly reduce the number of infected people flying to New Zealand.
At the same time, MIQ introduced a cohorting (or group intake) system to further reduce risk of in-facility transmission, based on public health advice.
Under the new plan, returnees arriving in New Zealand over a 96-hour window are delivered to MIQ facilities until they are full or the 96-hour period is over. The facilities then close their doors until the end of the cohorting cycle, with no additional returnees allowed in until after the last of the cohort have completed their stay and the facilities have been cleaned. A cohorting cycle can be between 18-20 days – this accounts for the 4 days of infill, the 14 days isolation for the returnees and 1-2 days to clean before the next cohort.
This will ensure returnees will be in the same facility as others who have arrived at about the same time, and importantly, will keep those who have just arrived apart from those who are coming to the end of their stay.
This does, of course, impact capacity. If the facility isn’t full at the end of the 96-hour period, then those rooms go unused and unoccupied until the end of that 18-20-day cycle. On average, cohorting is reducing room availability by 15%.
Flight schedules play a vital part– if there are no flights, or flights are cancelled, this has a significant impact on occupancy, and more rooms are unoccupied. MIQ does not have any control over flight schedules or flight cancellations.
Day 0/1 testing, staying in their room until a negative result is returned, Days 3 and 12 testing, limited exposure to others when exercising and smoking, and physical distancing will continue to apply across all facilities.
Special purpose MIQ facilities will not be included in cohorting. This includes the Jet Park Auckland quarantine facility and other facilities used for special groups such as refugees, unaccompanied minors, air and maritime crew and people with complex medical needs.