New Delta community cases rise to 23 as alert level decision looms

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 11 Sep 2021, 9:13AM
(Photo / Brett Phibbs)
(Photo / Brett Phibbs)

New Delta community cases rise to 23 as alert level decision looms

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 11 Sep 2021, 9:13AM

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There are 23 new Covid-19 cases in the community and one in managed isolation, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.

It comes after 11 community cases were announced yesterday.

A Ministry spokesperson acknowledged the slight increase in cases but said such volatility was likely at this point with day 5 and day 12 tests due for close contacts and further investigations are carried out into any unlinked cases.

All of the new cases announced today are located in Auckland.

It brings the total number of cases linked with this outbreak to 902 - 885 in Auckland (279 have recovered) and 17 in Wellington (10 have recovered).

Fourteen of today's cases are epidemiologically linked to the outbreak, while the remaining nine are yet to be linked.

In total, there are 36 unlinked cases currently.

Nineteen people are in hospital; 4 at North Shore, 7 at Middlemore, and 8 at Auckland City. Four are in intensive care or high dependency units.

Yesterday, director general of health Ashley Bloomfield urged Aucklanders to get tested this weekend if they have Covid-19 symptoms in order to properly inform the Government's decision on Monday to potentially move Auckland to level 3.

Auckland could move to level 3 from next Wednesday, while the big question for the rest of the country is whether it could be at level 1, should Auckland remain at level 4.

The total number of cases in this Delta outbreak is 879, including 590 active community cases.

There are 27 people currently in hospital, all in Auckland, including four in intensive care.

Bloomfield said there were now 29 unlinked "mystery" cases under investigation in the outbreak, including six yesterday.

Several new locations of interest have been released as part of a source investigation into unlinked cases - one of those is the Crowne Plaza vaccination centre on August 23 - after the person from New South Wales left the Crowne Plaza.

The locations are
• Commonsense Mt Eden, 284 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden (August 24, 3pm to 5pm)
• Farro Fresh Mt Eden, 422 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden (August 21, 1.30pm to 3.30pm)
• Federal St carpark, 65 Federal St, Auckland central (August 23, 5pm to 7pm)
• Hertz Auckland, 154 Victoria St West (August 30, 1.2pm to 3pm)
• Crowne Plaza vaccination clinic, 128 Albert St, Auckland CBD (August 23, 4.30pm to 7pm)

​​Of the unlinked cases, there was a small number investigated very thoroughly, including two at Middlemore Hospital, Bloomfield said.

Asked what impact the mystery cases had on alert level decisions, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson yesterday said Cabinet was looking for the links, but if testing was high and case numbers were coming down, there was some reassurance there were no undetected chains of transmission.

Robertson said if there was a high number of mystery cases, that made a decision more difficult.

Robertson said getting tested was one of the things taken into account in Cabinet decisions around alert levels and he encouraged people to get tested over the weekend.

More than 14,000 Covid-19 tests were taken yesterday - nearly 8000 of those in Auckland.

There is, however, some good news for Aucklanders - elimination is in sight, with modellers agreeing the city will get to the magic number "0" within a couple of weeks.

But the bad news is that every unlinked case could suggest hidden chains of transmission.

All eyes have now turned to the two cases who have recently tested positive after presenting themselves at Middlemore Hospital with unconnected symptoms.

Te Pūnaha Matatini Covid-19 modeller Shaun Hendy described the overall numbers as tracking well.

"Assuming everything else stays the same we will eliminate sometime in the next couple of weeks," Hendy said.

But he was concerned by recent incidents of patients presenting at Middlemore Hospital and later testing positive for Covid-19.

New locations of interest

Health teams today revealed seven new Covid-19 locations of interest in South Auckland - just days out from the Government's decision on whether it should ease lockdown restrictions in Auckland.

The locations include a vege shop, laundromat, and dairies in Papatoetoe and Otara. This comes as all eyes have turned to whether health teams can track down the links of transmission in two mystery cases, who presented themselves to Middlemore Hospital recently.

The Ministry of Health said the new locations of interest included Vege Oasis in Papatoetoe on September 3; Otara Mini Supermarket on the same day, and Clyde Road Superette in Otara on September 4.

The more recent new locations of interest included the Clyde Road Superette again on September 7, the Pacifica Laundry Otara on September 7 and 8, and the Otara Mini Supermarket also on September 8.

Authorities also advised there had been new exposure events at Pak'nSave Clendon Park on September 2, 5 and 7 and at Countdown Manurewa on September 7.