98 new cases as Kiwis adjust to new traffic light system

Author
Ben Leahy, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 4 Dec 2021, 12:45PM
(Photo / Michael Craig)
(Photo / Michael Craig)

98 new cases as Kiwis adjust to new traffic light system

Author
Ben Leahy, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 4 Dec 2021, 12:45PM

Health officials have revealed there are 98 new community cases of Delta in the community, as businesses around the country get used to the traffic light system and Aucklanders celebrate their freedom. 

The new cases have been confirmed in a Ministry of Health press release. 

The ministry also confirmed that hospital cases now totalled 73, including seven people requiring intensive care unit care. 

Of the ICU cases, two of these are in Auckland City Hospital, three in Middlemore, one in Waikato and the other in North Shore Hospital. 

The ministry said that Auckland metro DHB - including Auckland, Waitemata and Counties Manakau - now had 90 per cent of its Pacific population with one dose of the 
Covid-19 vaccine. 

A total of 82 per cent were fully vaccinated. 

As of earlier today, the Auckland DHB's Māori population was less than 20 doses short of the 90 per cent first dose milestone, which is expected to be reached later today. Eighty-one per cent of eligible Māori in these DHBs are fully vaccinated. 

It comes as Aucklanders have jumped back into doing many of the things they love after more than 100 days of strict restrictions. 

For some that meant getting out last night to enjoy a drink at the bar, while for others it's meant a return to community cricket games today or the chance to grab breakfast at a favourite cafe. 

Yesterday, health officials revealed there were 92 new Covid community cases yesterday, with 80 being in Auckland, two in Waikato, one in Northland, five in the Bay of Plenty, one in Lakes DHB, one in Nelson-Marlborough and two in Taranaki. 

There are now 936 people with Covid in isolation in their homes. 

Hospitalisations also dropped from 89 a day earlier to 79 yesterday, with nine in intensive care. 

There was also been a new wastewater detection in Gisborne, director of public health Caroline McElnay said yesterday. 

She reminded Kiwis to get tested if they have Covid symptoms and to stay isolated until they return a negative test. 

87% of target population fully vaxxed 

Deputy PM Grant Robertson said the nation heads into the new traffic light system with high vaccination rates: 93 per cent of eligible people have had one dose and 87 per cent have had both doses. 

Robertson said the high vaccination rates showed a unified New Zealand, rather than a divided country as some people had tried to portray it. 

Almost 90 per cent of double-vaccinated Kiwis also now have their My Vaccine Passes. As of yesterday, 3.25 million passes had been downloaded. 

The Government had also sent out 54,500 temporary exemption emails to people who had trouble downloading their passes. 

Two more DHBs hit 90% target 

Waitematā and Canterbury DHBs are now the third and fourth DHBs to hit 90 per cent double-jabbed with the Pfizer vaccination. 

Robertson said of the five DHB regions yet to hit the 90 per cent single-dose mark, Lakes DHB is just 785 doses away, and the West Coast only 284 doses away. 

Omicron variant 

Robertson said the Government doesn't at this point have any advice that the Omicron variant would require a new system for managing Covid. 

However, if new advice came through that showed it was more serious, officials would act on that, he said. 

McElnay said it did appear the Omicron variant is seemingly more infectious but studies were ongoing to see whether it caused more serious illnesses and whether it can infect fully vaccinated people more easily. 

Luxon's call for green light in Auckland 

Answering calls by National Party leader Christopher Luxon to put Auckland in the green traffic light system, Robertson said the Government had always moved cautiously. 

And the "proof is in the pudding" that their actions had worked, given the nation had so far had low infection and death rates, he said. 

He rejected criticism that the traffic light system is complicated. However, he understood it was new and people would still be getting used to it. 

Robertson said it was possible Auckland could move down to a lesser traffic light level before Christmas, but he couldn't pre-empt the decision and it would only be known closer to December 13.