Positive wastewater result in east Auckland; 11 new community cases

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 17 Sep 2021, 12:36PM

Positive wastewater result in east Auckland; 11 new community cases

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 17 Sep 2021, 12:36PM

There are 11 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today - two of which remain unlinked to the outbreak.

Director of public health Dr Caroline McElnay said health officials were now "cautiously optimistic" we were now closing in on the outbreak.

A positive wastewater result was found in East Auckland on Monday - results of a follow-up sample taken on Wednesday are expected in "coming days", McElnay said.

Wastewater detections like this do reinforce the importance of testing to err on the side of caution, she said.

There are have 9 epidemiologically linked subclusters identified in this outbreak - two are active, 7 are contained and 1 is dormant.

A further 10 sub-clusters are unlinked, 2 are active, 3 contained and 5 dormant.

The truck driver and a family member who tested positive for Covid-19 have been transferred to MIQ. He visited a number of supermarkets in Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty.

Waikato locations of interest are expected later today, she said.

The driver wore a mask and maintained social distancing while working, McElnay said. The delivery areas are not listed as locations of interest because they are not open to the public. Staff have been notified.

Seven thousand and four hundred people were tested in Auckland yesterday - 1710 taken from suburbs of interest. 9200 tests from those suburbs all together this week.

Around 15,000 tests were processed across the country yesterday.

McElnay said a number of vehicles were turned around at checkpoints overnight for failing to provide evidence at Auckland's boundary.

Since the start of September, 22,000 essential workers have had asymptomatic testing.

Quarantine rules

It has always been the case that people arriving overseas have to stay in MIQ for 14 days and this has not changed, McElnay said.

For cases in New Zealand, their stay has been a minimum of 10 days from the onset of symptoms, including 72 hours of being symptom-free. This continues to be the case for people in Auckland under alert level 4, McElnay said

'A massive shock'

Locations of interest are emerging outside of Auckland after the truck driver who tested positive travelled to Tauranga, Cambridge and Hamilton.

A visit to the Tuck Shop eatery, in Cambridge, is now the latest place a person with Covid-19 visited in the community - two days ago on Wednesday.

The positive case was there for just over an hour between 8.50am and 10am.

The Z Hautapu petrol station is linked to a Covid-positive case who was there on Friday, September 10. They were there for two minutes - from 9.40am to 9.42am.

A person with the virus visited the Maramarua General Store on Saturday, September 11, from 1.25pm to 2.40pm.

Ngatea Lotto & Foodmart had a person with Covid come to their shop on Thursday, September 9, between 12.10pm and 2.20pm.

While someone with the virus was at the GAS Paeroa petrol station on the same day between 11.20am and 11.28am.

Another location of interest is the Uppercrust Bakery in Mt Maunganui and a BP petrol station in Tauriko.

Uppercrust Bakery owner John-Paul van der Meys said finding out the store was a location of interest was "a massive shock".

"We haven't even recovered from the last lockdown and now we have to stay locked down again for another 14 days," he said.

New locations continue to spring up in South Auckland as well. Another business in a shopping complex in Clover Park, South Auckland, has been identified as a location of interest.

As of 10am, there were 135 events involving 91 locations.

From today all permitted travellers across the Auckland boundary must show proof they have been tested.

Police have been checking compliance, and those who cannot show proof will be turned back.

A pop-up testing centre at Mobil station on SH1 near Meremere opened today.

Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins announced today that school holidays will not be brought forward in Auckland, despite an outcry from parents who are juggling working from home and supervising online learning.

School holidays in Auckland will start at the same time as the rest of the country, on Saturday, October 2.

Auckland reported 13 new cases yesterday, with one yet to be linked to the outbreak, including another patient who presented to the emergency department at Middlemore Hospital.

They were tested as part of regular surveillance testing and not because they reported any Covid-19 symptoms. Five of yesterday's cases were infectious in the community and are linked to exposure events.

As of yesterday, there are 10 cases that have not been epidemiologically linked to the community outbreak.

Nineteen people remain in hospitals across Auckland - four are in intensive care units.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is urging everyone to have at least their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of the week.

A number of mobile vaccine buses were launched in Auckland suburbs of interest this week.

Ardern has signalled Auckland would likely move down to level 3 restrictions next Wednesday, though Cabinet would be making its final decision on Monday.