51 new community Covid cases, including 4 in Waikato; Wellsford household cases

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 17 Oct 2021, 12:44pm
(Photo / Peter de Graaf)
(Photo / Peter de Graaf)

51 new community Covid cases, including 4 in Waikato; Wellsford household cases

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 17 Oct 2021, 12:44pm

There are 51 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today - 47 in Auckland and four in the Waikato.

As of 9am, 28 of the cases had been linked - 18 of those were household contacts. Another 23 are unlinked, with investigations continuing to help find their source.

The four new Waikato cases include two that are known contacts of existing cases - one in Hamilton and one in Raglan. One of these people was already in managed isolation.

Officials are still investigating how the other two cases are linked to the current outbreak. One person lives in Hamilton and the other has an address in Kihikihi.

The Ministry of Health said it was possible that the Kihikihi case was the source of wastewater detections in Te Awamutu, but this has not yet been confirmed.

Testing is continuing across the Waikato DHB region, and anyone with symptoms is encouraged to get tested - particularly those in Raglan, Te Awamutu and Kihikihi.

Testing will be available tomorrow in Kihikihi.

Waipā District Council said as of Friday, Kihikihi's vaccination rate was in the bottom 19 per cent of all suburbs in New Zealand, with 74.3 per cent of eligible people having had their first dose and 48.5 per cent having two doses.

The confirmed case in Kihikihi followed two positive detections in wastewater samples taken on Tuesday and Wednesday last week, with sample sites including flows from Kihikihi and Waikeria Prison.

Waipā Deputy Mayor Liz Stolwyk said the person did the right thing by getting tested.

"If this person hadn't got tested, we would still be unclear as to where the two positive wastewater results originated, so I would like to thank them for being responsible and taking swift action. It's important that we support them what will be a very stressful time.

"If anyone else in the community is showing symptoms, please do the right thing and get tested too and self-isolate at home until you have the result. We need to do all we can to stop the spread and identifying cases as soon as possible is the first step."

Locations of interest for the Kihikihi case have not yet been updated on the Ministry of Health website.

Cases in Wellsford

Cases have also been found in a household in Wellsford, north Auckland - there had been two positive detections in wastewater samples in Wellsford in recent days.

Wellsford residents are urged to get tested if they have any symptoms. A pop-up community testing centre is open today at Warkworth until 4pm - people should call ahead to book. Testing is also available at GPs and urgent care clinics.

A pop-up testing centre will be operating in Kaiwaka from 10am to 5pm from tomorrow.

Final tally in for Super Saturday

The final count is in for Super Saturday: 130,002 people got a vaccination yesterday across New Zealand.

Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said it was inspiring to see yesterday's vaccination effort.

"People across the motu embraced Super Saturday like their communities' lives depended on it. It was inspiring to witness as we know the Covid-19 vaccine is key to our efforts to control the virus."

Auckland had had its biggest-ever vaccination day, he said.

"I congratulate and thank everyone there who stepped forward to protect themselves, their whānau and their community – 41,081 people were vaccinated there yesterday, including 9039 first doses and 32,042 second doses.

"They've hit 89 per cent of their eligible population who have had their first dose and are tantalisingly close to reaching 90 per cent. I continue to urge everyone in Auckland who hasn't received their first vaccination to get vaccinated as soon as possible. And remember, we're not stopping at 90 per cent - the higher, the better for everyone."

Auckland is now just 20,360 short of 90 per cent of the eligible population having their first dose, he said.

Super Saturday saw 10,088 people getting out to be vaccinated in the Waikato, including 3887 first doses. There were 6080 swabs taken for testing around the region.

There are now 29 people in hospital and five in intensive care - one fewer than yesterday.

In the past 24 hours, 26,667 Covid tests have been processed, including 8895 in Auckland.

Two border cases have also been picked up through routine day-3 testing. One person arrived via Qatar and Australia on October 13, and the other arrived from the United States on October 11.

Alert level call on Monday

Yesterday, there were 41 new community cases of Covid-19 - 40 in Auckland and one in the Waikato. Of yesterday's cases, 19 have exposure events, while 22 were in isolation during their infectious period.

There were 65 cases on Friday and 71 on Thursday, but that drop is not expected to continue for long.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson has warned cases will soon hit triple digits, with the number of daily cases expected to double by the end of October.

On Monday Cabinet will meet again to decide on the next alert level move, including a possible date when Auckland schools can reopen. Those moves will partly depend on vaccination rates.

Saturday's vaxathon saw 130,000 people get their first or second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, breaking records here and overseas.

But 15 per cent of the country's eligible population remains unvaccinated, putting them at higher risk of getting infected, getting sick, ending up in hospital and even dying.

As of yesterday there were 31 people in hospital with Covid, with six in intensive care.

Just 20 of yesterday's cases were linked, with 13 of those being household contacts of other cases. Another 21 cases remained unlinked yesterday, and health officials are still investigating where these people may have caught the virus.

There are 124 unlinked cases from the past fortnight.

The Ministry of Health said yesterday it had stopped counting subclusters in Auckland because there were so many unlinked cases.

Contact tracing efforts were focusing on alerting people who may have been exposed to known cases, and ensuring they were tested and isolated.

Officials are however still attempting to trace back to the cause of each infection, through interviews and whole genome sequencing.