14 new cases in the community, Pause on MIQ bookings to be lifted next week, Bloomfield says ivermectin not effective against Covid-19

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 15 Sep 2021, 12:30PM

14 new cases in the community, Pause on MIQ bookings to be lifted next week, Bloomfield says ivermectin not effective against Covid-19

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 15 Sep 2021, 12:30PM

Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield provided and update on the latest Covid-19 cases numbers.

Hipkins also announced that the pause on MIQ bookings would be lifted on Monday September 20 and a new fairer lobby system introduced.

Today's Update

  • There are 14 new cases in the community today, all in Auckland. Of those 966 cases are in Auckland (441 who have recovered), and 17 in Wellington (15 who have recovered). All of today’s cases are epidemiologically linked to the outbreak. 
  • 20 cases in hospital, three in North Shore Hospital, 11 in Middlemore and six in Auckland. Four cases are in ICU or HDU 
  • Three of yesterday’s cases had exposure events and 13 were in isolation for the period they were infectious 
  • There was an increase in testing yesterday in Auckland with 10,341 new tests completed. 
  • Saliva testing is now an option and "we've seen a good uptick" in saliva testing said Bloomfield. 
  • A worker at the So managed isolation facility in Auckland had tested positive to Covid as a part of regular testing. The worker was fully vaccinated and is now in quarantine. 
  • Bloomfield addressed questions around ivermectin, saying it had not been found to be an effective treatment for Covid-19 
  • Bloomfield said there was huge support among doctors for the nation's vaccine program with a petition now circulating among doctors top show their support. 
  • He also said New Zealand had a fast approval process and was keeping up to date on the latest and most effective treatments for Covid 19. 
  • He said Covid had two main ill effects, the first was the virus' attack on the body and also its ability to generate an adverse immune response. He outlined three main categories of treatments for Covid that are being used or under consideration in New Zealand. 
  • Bloomfield said all treatments of Covid complement rather than replace vaccines. 
  • He said New Zealand had a team of clinicians who met weekly to review and update health teams on the latest treatments and drugs being used to treat Covid. 
  • Hipkins said some of those who hadn't signed up for a vaccine booking simply had questions - "it's perfectly OK to have questions". However, he asked them to ask questions about the vaccine from experts, including doctors and nurses. He urged people not to be "sucked in" by the wrong sources of information. 
  • Early this year there had been a higher level of vaccine hesitancy that had come down now, he said. He also said what is being seeing overseas is that the pandemic was morphing into a pandemic among the unvaccinated. He believed Kiwis are more informed about vaccines than in other places around the world. "I am incredibly proud about that," he said. 
  • The Pfizer vaccine was safe for pregnant mothers at any time during pregnancy and also helped protect their unborn baby from Covid, Bloomfield reiterated. 
  • He revealed that there have been cases of unvaccinated pregnant women arriving in hospital with Covid and urged expectant mums to get the jab. "It's timely to remind anyone in the country who is expecting a baby about the importance of getting vaccinated. We have seen some unvaccinated pregnant women arriving in hospital with Covid-19, quite unwell as a result of the virus," Bloomfield said. "It's now very clear from experience globally and our experience here with a large number of pregnant people vaccinated that there are no additional safety concerns with getting the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine. It is safe in any stage in pregnancy and vaccinating during pregnancy also helps protect your baby as there is evidence that infants can get antibodies of the virus through cord blood and then once they are born through breast milk." 
  • Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins said 250,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine purchased from Denmark had just arrived at Auckland Airport. 
  • He said more than 70% of eligible Kiwis had now received one dose of Pfizer and 36% have had two doses. 90% of those aged over 60 have had their first dose 
  • Hipkins said the main age group where "a lot of work" was needed to be done to boost vaccine numbers was with those under 40. 
  • The Auckland DHBs had now vaccinated more than one million people. But by the end of this week health teams wanted everyone in the city to have had the chance to have their first dose. 
  • Along with pharmacies and more GP clinics offering vaccines, Hipkins said the vaccination buses will also hit the roads to offer jabs. They will go to communities where vaccine rates are low or where it is difficult for people to get access to vaccination centres. 
  • Health teams hope to operate 12 buses in the coming weeks. 
  • On wasterwater testing, there was one "unexpected detection" of Covid from Snells Beach, north of Auckland, said the Ministry of Health. It was from September 7 - a delay due to a logistical issue - and additional testing is under way. 
  • Hipkins said the pause on new managed isolation bookings for returning Kiwis would be lifted on Monday September 20. 
  • That was due to an easing off of demand from local community cases needing isolation rooms. 
  • The new booking system that aimed to make it fairer and easier for returning Kiwis to book managed isolation rooms was also due to be launched, Hipkins said. 
  • Details on how the new lobby booking said worked would be up on government websites but it aimed to allow people wanting to book a room into a virtual lobby where they will then all have an equal opportunity to book a room, Hipkins said. 
  • He asked travellers looking to book a room and enter the virtual lobby booking system to make sure there are flights available into New Zealand on the days they wish to book a managed isolation room. 
  • Hipkins said managed isolation rooms have been set aside for people who need to travel urgently and this is accepted by the government. 
  • The new booking system aimed to do away with the need for people to spend hours watching the booking website, refreshing their browsers in the hope they are the first to see a new room become available, or the use of computer programs to do this automatically, he said. 
  • The new lobby booking system would deal with managed isolation rooms available between now and December. 
  • The booking system should also help ease demand on the MIQ website, Hipkins said. 
  • In the past when the Government released tranches of new rooms, it often led to a rush among people wanting to book and high demand on the website, he said. 
  • Hipkins said an announcement on the Trans-Tasman bubble next week didn't indicate green zone flights would be operating. He said not to bank on a Trans-Tasman bubble opening any time soon.