Another record - 129 cases as PM unveils road map out of lockdown

Author
Ben Leahy, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 22 Oct 2021, 12:42PM
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Another record - 129 cases as PM unveils road map out of lockdown

Author
Ben Leahy, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 22 Oct 2021, 12:42PM

There are 129 new Covid cases in the community just after the Prime Minister revealed the Government's new traffic light system to leave lockdowns behind. 

One hundred and twenty of the cases are in Auckland and nine are in Waikato. 

As at 9am today, 64 of these cases are linked, of whom 25 are household contacts, and 65 remain unlinked with investigations continuing to help determine their connection to the current outbreak, the Ministry of Health said. 

Update on case who travelled to Hawke's Bay 

Public health officials in Waikato are continuing to investigate a local case who travelled to Hawke's Bay before returning a positive Covid-19 result. 

One location of interest, Kmart Napier, has been identified and anyone there between 3:53pm–5:13 pm on Friday October 15 is asked to monitor their symptoms for 14 days and if any develop, get tested and stay at home until a negative test result is received and they have been symptom-free for 24 hours. 

No further locations of interest in Hawke's Bay have been identified but locals are asked to please keep checking the Ministry of Health's website. 

There have been no positive detections for Covid-19 in the most recent wastewater samples collected from Hastings (October 19 and 20), Napier (October 18 and 20), and Wairoa (October 15 and 19). 

Further samples from these sites will be collected next week, the ministry said. 

New Zealand will move into the system to manage Covid-19 when District Health Boards have 90 per cent of their eligible populations vaccinated. 

The traffic light system will use vaccine certificates to allow complying businesses to continue to operate at all times - it should also end nationwide lockdowns, although the Government retains the right to use smaller, localised lockdowns. 

Case numbers have now been hopping around in recent days, with 94 cases on Tuesday and 102 cases on Thursday. Experts are tipping numbers to continue to grow. 

Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield yesterday said case numbers are doubling every 10 to 12 days. He said the key point was how many of those people who caught Covid-19 were vaccinated. 

Only 1.7 per cent of people hospitalised in the Delta outbreak have been vaccinated. 

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

Ninety-four of yesterday's cases are in Auckland and eight are in Waikato, Bloomfield said. 

Deputy PM Grant Robertson said "undoubtedly" there will be more cases emerging in Waikato. 

Unlinked 'mystery cases' 

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

Bloomfield said a growing number of unlinked cases is to be expected, and the most important information is to find their contacts. 

Bloomfield said finding cases and high rates of testing is key. Using modelling of Auckland, officials have a sense they are finding most of the cases, he said. 

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

New UK data shows of 40,000 patients hospitalised 84 per cent were not vaccinated. In New Zealand only three people that were hospitalised were vaccinated, he said. 

Bloomfield reminded anyone with symptoms in New Lynn and North Shore suburbs to get tested as soon as possible, but anywhere in Auckland as well he said. 

Robertson said officials have been planning for the health system to cope with rising cases, such as sharing workforce around the country. Today six people are in ICU and those rates are keeping steady and not an issue right now. 

Robertson also urged Aucklanders to stick to the rules over this coming long weekend.