Live: 22 new cases in community as Cabinet meets on alert level

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 20 Sep 2021, 12:37PM
Testing Is Underway In The Waikato After Three People Tested Positive For Covid-19. Photo / Mike Scott
Testing Is Underway In The Waikato After Three People Tested Positive For Covid-19. Photo / Mike Scott

Live: 22 new cases in community as Cabinet meets on alert level

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 20 Sep 2021, 12:37PM

There are 22 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today as Cabinet meets to decide on whether to lift Auckland's lockdown.

Of these, 17 are linked to known cases, while five are unlinked.

Of the five unlinked cases today; three are from one household; the other two are being interviewed.

Of the 22 new cases today, 10 were already in quarantine when they were tested. The new cases bring the total number of active cases in the outbreak to 377. Sixteen people are in hospital, including four in ICU.

The majority of the new community cases reported today are located in Auckland, while three are located in Whakatīwai.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield will announce any alert level changes at 4pm from Parliament.

Today is Auckland's 33rd day in lockdown since level 4 was declared at 11.59pm on August 17.

Six of yesterday's 24 Covid cases were not in isolation during the period they were infectious.

That meant there are currently 141 locations of interest.

The number of epidemiologically linked subclusters now sits at ten. The new one is associated with two households in South Auckland.

The Ministry of Health said there has been a good community turn out for testing in Kaiaua in Waikato this morning after yesterday's three cases were discovered.

By 11am today, 150 swabs had been taken. The Waikato DHB has reported wait times of about 30 minutes.

After confirmation of the three cases in northern Hauraki in the Waikato, science agency ESR is currently sampling wastewater from Kawakawa Bay and Pukekohe.

Samples are being collected from three sites in the region.

In addition, new samples are being collected from Cambridge, Ngatea, and Paeroa. Results are expected later in the week.

Testing in the seven Auckland suburbs of interest is continuing with 946 tests taken
yesterday across Mt Eden, Massey, Māngere, Favona, Papatoetoe, Ōtara and Manurewa.

The ministry has asked people in these areas, both with symptoms and without, to get tested to help rule out undetected community transmission.

"Today we are asking in particular for anyone living in Clover Park, on the south east side of Papatoetoe, to please get tested," it said.

Waikato residents are on edge and scrambling to get tested after three people in one household became infected with the virus.

A pop-up testing centre is set up at the Wharekawa Marae in Whakatiwai and the Ministry of Health is encouraging locals with symptoms to get tested.

Two of the three household members attend Mangatangi School on the Hauraki Plains. All three positive cases, and a caregiver, are being moved to a quarantine facility.

One was a child who was symptomatic while at Mangatangi School on the Hauraki Plains last week. The school has now closed.

The family is linked to a remand prisoner who was at Auckland's Mt Eden Corrections Facility and was released on e-monitored bail to a house in the Firth of Thames on Wednesday, September 8 - when Auckland was still in alert level 4 lockdown.

Latest on vaccines

There were 26,673 vaccines administered yesterday. Of those 14,145 were first doses and 12,528 were second shots.

There has now been 4,711,410 vaccines given out in New Zealand. That includes 3,092,737 first doses and 1,618,673 second doses.

Mâori have had 291,019 first doses and 141,378 second doses.

Members of the Pasifika community have had 188,534 first doses and 99,048 second doses.

There were no unexpected detections in the latest ESR wastewater testing results.

Infected truck driver

ESR has now analysed whole-genome sequencing from samples taken from several recent cases.

This shows the truck driver and a couple who went to Middlemore Hospital with Covid-19 symptoms are genome linked to the main outbreak cluster, the ministry said.

False positive test for MIQ worker

After further investigation, including retesting, the positive Covid-19 test result returned by the SO Hotel MIQ facility worker last week has been determined to be a false positive, the ministry said.

New locations of interest

A supermarket in Auckland's Mt Wellington has been linked to a person with Covid in the last week.

Pak'nSave Sylvia Park, at 286 Mt Wellington Highway, has been identified as a location of interest in the health ministry's latest update.

A person with the virus was there last Wednesday, September 15, between 9am and 10.30am.

Anyone who was there during that time is told to monitor their health for any Covid symptoms for 14 days after the date of exposure.

If symptoms start to show, get tested and stay home until a negative result comes back.

Covid experts now say the new Waikato cases may stop Auckland from moving out of alert level 4 today, at least, and may warrant the Waikato moving up level 3.

A number of locations of interest continue to spring up in south Auckland, with the latest update to the list adding gas stations, dairies and supermarkets.

Twelve cases in the past 14 days have not been epidemiologically linked to the community outbreak.

Meanwhile, more than 22,000 New Zealanders have had to wait in a virtual queue this morning for just 3000 MIQ spots as the new 'virtual lobby' booking system launched.

The MIQ spots were available to book today for September, October, November and December but it appears authorities were not prepared for the large volume of Kiwis abroad desperately trying to return home.

Auckland has remained under alert level 4 restrictions for almost five weeks, while the rest of the country moved to Delta level 2 on September 7.