102 cases today, new daily record, hospital numbers hit high

Derek Cheng, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 21 Oct 2021, 12:41pm

102 cases today, new daily record, hospital numbers hit high

Derek Cheng, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 21 Oct 2021, 12:41pm

There are 102 Covid cases in the community today - the highest daily number since coronavirus hit our shores last year. 

Hospital numbers are also at their highest - 46 people are on a ward or in ICU today. 

Ninety-four cases are in Auckland and 8 are in Waikato, director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said. 

Case numbers have hopped around in recent days, with 94 cases on Tuesday - the highest daily number since the pandemic began - and 60 yesterday. 

Forty of today's 102 cases are not linked to the outbreak, while 30 are household contacts. Twenty of yesterday's cases also remain unlinked. 

"It's becoming increasingly clear that Covid is a disease amongst the unvaccinated, "Bloomfield said. 

Tomorrow the Cabinet will decide on whether alert level 3 needs to be extended in Waikato, where two of yesterday's four cases were yet to be linked. 

The Ministry of Health yesterday asked people in New Lynn and the North Shore suburbs of Rosedale, Redvale, and Bayswater to get tested. There has been a high proportion of positive results in the North Shore, relative to the number of tests. 

The public health efforts on the ground in Auckland and the level 3 restrictions have continued to keep the R value - the average number of cases one case infects - between 1.2 and 1.3. 

This means that case numbers are still projected to double every 12 days or so, but case numbers might continue to stay low enough to keep the health system from being overwhelmed. 

As MIQ rooms fill, low risk cases are already being told to isolate at home. 

There are still 150,000 eligible people in Auckland - and 616,000 eligible people nationwide - who are yet to get a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine. 

Yesterday there were 2799 first doses administered in Auckland, and 10,392 first doses nationwide. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has talked about being open to a return to level 4 in Auckland if things go pear-shaped, but the public health advice on the ground is that it wouldn't necessarily make a difference. 

Political parties are meanwhile offering different views on when lockdown restrictions should ease. 

Yesterday National Party leader Judith Collins said Fortress Auckland should be released from lockdown on December 1 or when 85 to 90 per cent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated - whichever comes first. 

That could lead to between 1557 and 4314 deaths a year, according to Te Pūnaha Matatini modelling, though National argues these numbers would be lower because there would be stronger public health measures in place. 

Collins also released a suite of proposals, including personal and small business tax cuts, to boost economic activity. 

December 1 is also where Act leader David Seymour drew a line in the sand for lifting level 3 in Auckland. 

The Green Party and Te Paati Māori want restrictions to remain in place until 95 per cent of eligible people in vulnerable groups - including Māori, where vaccination coverage is significantly lower - are fully vaccinated. 

That would lead to an estimated 123 deaths a year, according to Te Pūnaha Matatini modelling, but it could also see Auckland in lockdown for the rest of the year or longer. 

Ardern is revealing the new restrictions framework - a traffic light system - for a highly vaccinated New Zealand tomorrow, including when different rules for the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. 

It will include vaccination targets that need to be met until the framework comes into force, and the pathway for how Auckland comes out of lockdown, when Aucklanders will be allowed to leave the city, and what the future looks like for the rest of the country. 

Robertson will also reveal additional business support.