104 new community cases - including cases in Northland and South Island

Author
Ben Leahy, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 23 Oct 2021, 12:57PM
(Photo / Getty)
(Photo / Getty)

104 new community cases - including cases in Northland and South Island

Author
Ben Leahy, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 23 Oct 2021, 12:57PM

There are 104 new Covid community cases today, including more in Northland and the first case in the South Island in 12 months. 

Today's cases include 91 in Auckland, eight in the Waikato, four in Northland and one in the Nelson Marlborough region, the Ministry of Health said. 

Of the new cases, 43 are linked - including 33 being household contacts - and 61 remain unlinked. Investigations are continuing into the unlinked cases. 

There have now been 2172 cases - out of the total of 2492 since the latest outbreak began - that have been epidemiologically linked. However, 274 cases from the last 14 days are yet to be linked back to known cases. 

There are now 55 people in hospital, including eight in the North Shore, 19 in Middlemore, 27 in Auckland and one in Waikato. Five people are in intensive care. The average age of those in hospital is 43. 

Out of yesterday's 129 cases, 53 were infectious while in the community. The other 76 were in isolation while infectious. 

Health teams are actively managing 2403 people considered contacts of Covid cases. They have contacted 82 per cent of these contacts to advise them they need to isolate and get a Covid test. Out of these, 75 per cent have had at least one test result back. 

Yesterday, 44,750 vaccine doses were administered across the country, including 11,368 first doses and 33,382 second doses. 

Auckland has now reached the first dose threshold of 90 per cent after 18,709 total doses were administered, made up of 3975 first doses and 14,374 second doses. 

Across New Zealand, 3,626,019 people or 86 per cent of the eligible population have had a first dose, while 2,935,712 or 70 per cent have had a second dose. 

Among Māori 389,884 or 68 per cent have had their first dose while 272,446 or 48 per cent have had their second dose. 

In Pacific people, the number of first doses has hit 235,267 or 82 per cent, while 179,554 second doses or 63 per cent have been given out. 

Northland 

Northland DHB today confirmed four new cases of Covid-19 in the region. All are related to each other and the two newest cases are children under 12 years of age. 

The four cases include the two cases that were confirmed in the region yesterday, just days after the Northland emerged from level 3 lockdown. 

Those two cases are contacts of a recently diagnosed case in Auckland and are now isolating near Kaikohe. They are not linked to the Covid-positive women who travelled to the region at the start of the month. 

With a third potential case in Whangārei Heads, health officials are urging Northlanders to get tested. 

Locations of interest for Northland have been updated on the Ministry of Health website this morning and further locations are expected to be added later today. 

Parua Bay Tavern closed yesterday after one staff member self-isolated due to having contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case outside of work. All staff who have been self-isolating have tested negative. Parua Bay Tavern is not a place of interest and will reopen tomorrow. 

In response to the active cases in the region, the Hospital Visitor Policy has also been updated for Whangārei, Kaitaia, Dargaville and Bay of Islands Hospitals. 

One support person can accompany patients who are receiving end of life care, children, or women who are in labour. Screening is in place at all hospital entrances. 

Northland DHB incident controller Sarah Hoyle said that having active cases in the region is an important reminder for everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible. 

"It is also important that anyone who has been at a location of interest, or who has cold and flu symptoms, gets a test," she said. 

Northland DHB said support has been put in place for the whanau of the four new cases. They have "worked cooperatively" with the Public Health team to identify locations of interest, the DHB said. 

Blenheim case 

new South Island case has been detected in Blenheim, with the person - who flew from Rotorua - now isolating. 

So far, initial case interviews have identified a small number of close contacts, who have been contacted and are currently isolating with tests arranged. 

Interviews are also being undertaken to determine any locations of interest in, or en route to, Blenheim. People living in the Blenheim township are asked to monitor the Ministry of Health's locations of interest page, which is regularly updated. 

The ministry said the current public health assessment was that the risk appeared low given the individual's likely late stage of infection. 

Blenheim residents with symptoms – no matter how mild – are urged to get tested, even if they are vaccinated. 

Hawke's Bay 

Public health officials have concluded their investigations into a Waikato case who travelled to Hawke's Bay and returned a positive Covid-19 result following their arrival back in the Waikato. 

One location of interest, Kmart Napier, has been identified and anyone there between 3:53pm – 5:13pm on Friday October 15 is asked to monitor their symptoms for 14 days. 

If any develop, they should get tested and stay at home until a negative test result is received and they have been symptom-free for 24 hours, the ministry said. 

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 for the next few days. 

Waikato 

The eight new cases in Waikato today include seven in Te Awamutu and one in Hamilton. 

The Te Awamutu cases have all been linked to an exposure event in a house. Public Health teams are planning to interview the Hamilton case today. 

At this time, there are five cases in Waikato that are deemed unlinked – but one is a new case who Public Health are speaking to today. 

Testing locations in and around Waikato are available on the Healthpoint website and the Waikato DHB website, with testing available throughout Labour Weekend. Yesterday around 2400 tests were processed in the Waikato. 

Vaccination rates in Waikato also remained steady yesterday with 3706 people receiving a dose – including 1201 first doses, and a further 2505 second doses. 

Traffic light system 

PM Jacinda Ardern yesterday also revealed New Zealand will move into a new way of managing 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 - and proposes to end nationwide lockdowns, despite the Government retaining the right to use smaller, localised lockdowns. 

Some argue freedoms for lockdowned Aucklanders can't come soon enough, while some medical specialists expect intensive care units in the nation's hospitals to be overwhelmed as case numbers go up. 

It comes as the number of new Covid cases in the community has hit record highs in each of the last two days and two new cases were confirmed in Northland. 

That included 129 new Covid community cases yesterday - 120 of which were in Auckland and nine in Waikato. 

Officials said 64 of the cases had already been linked and included 25 household contacts. 

However, 65 or just over half remain unlinked as of yesterday morning, with investigations continuing to link them back to existing cases, the Ministry of Health said. 

Yesterday's cases also followed on from a then-record daily high of 102 new cases on Thursday. 

Prior to Thursday, case numbers had been hopping around earlier in the week between lower and higher numbers, but experts are now tipping numbers to continue to grow. 

It meant that as of yesterday, 51 people are in hospital with Covid, including eight in North Shore, 18 in Middlemore, 24 in Auckland and one in Waikato. 

Five are in intensive care. 

In Auckland, the virus was now widely dispersed, health officials said. 

So health teams are focusing testing on areas with higher positive test rates and where the risk of unidentified cases is higher, the ministry said. 

One suburb of interest with a high positivity rate of more than 7 per cent is Redvale, on the North Shore. 

However, at this stage, no recorded cases in Redvale have been linked to last weekend's well-reported party. 

Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield earlier this week 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. 

Auckland was just 16,000 first doses away from having 90 per cent of its eligible population having received at least one jab, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said yesterday. 

The city could move out of its level 3 setting when all of its three DHBs hit a 90 per cent double dose target, forecast to occur by early December on current trends. 

However, the hard boundary surrounding the city and preventing Aucklanders from travelling to other parts of the country would remain as long as any of the nation's other DHBs were below 90 per cent double dosed.