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LIVE: 21 new Covid cases today, total is 72

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield are updating the public at 1pm.

There are 21 new cases of COVID-19 in the New Zealand community to confirm today. This brings the total number of cases in the community outbreak to 51.

All cases have or are being transferred safely to a managed isolation facility, under strict infection prevention and control procedures, including the use of full PPE.

Of the 21 new cases, 18 are in Auckland and three are in Wellington – one of which was reported yesterday and has been included in the numbers reported today.

This brings Wellington’s number of community cases to six.

Of the 51 cases, 32 are linked to other community cases identified in the outbreak. Investigations are continuing to determine whether and how the remaining 19 cases are linked to the outbreak. The Ministry of Health will continue to release this information and new locations of interest as it becomes available.

Public health interviews with the cases are continuing.

“One of the new Wellington cases is a household contact of the previously reported case based in Johnsonville,” says a Ministry of Health spokesperson. “At this stage, interviews have determined this person’s locations of interest are the same as those for the case we reported yesterday.”

Another of the cases flew from Auckland to Wellington on Thursday and has reported no locations of interest in Wellington. The flight is a location of interest and details are on the Ministry of Health website.

ESR continues to run whole genome sequencing on samples taken from all new cases to support ongoing investigations into the outbreak. ESR has completed sequencing for 29 of these cases, including the three Wellington cases reported yesterday, and found all have genome links to the Auckland cluster.

In addition, there are three new cases in recent returnees in a managed isolation facility.

New cases identified at the border

Arrival date

From

Via

Positive test day/reason

Managed isolation/quarantine location

11 August *

United Arab Emirates

Direct

Day 8 / routine

Auckland

13 August **

Serbia and Montenegro

United Arab Emirates

Day 6 / routine

Christchurch

16 August

United States of America

Direct

Day / routine

Auckland

* This case is in a travel bubble with a case reported on Thursday and another case reported yesterday.
** This case is in a family travel bubble with a case reported on Wednesday.

Travel details have now been confirmed for a border-related case that was reported yesterday. They arrived in New Zealand on August 11 and travelled from United Arab Emirates via Malaysia. They are currently in an Auckland quarantine facility.

The total number of active cases being managed in New Zealand is currently 93.

Since January 1 2021, there have been 123 historical cases, out of a total of 818 cases.

Our total number of confirmed cases is 2,636.

Testing
As testing numbers continue to increase, it is essential people only get tested if they are a contact, have visited a location of interest at the specific date(s) and time(s), or have cold and flu symptoms. This allows the public health teams to identify any new cases as quickly as possible.

Yesterday, 41,464 tests were processed across New Zealand, a new daily record.

Testing centres in Auckland had another record day with 31,000 swabs taken across Auckland yesterday, with almost 10,000 at community testing centres and around 21,000 at general practice and urgent care clinics. This is double the number of swabs at the height of the outbreak in August last year.

Primary care in Auckland has now taken over one million swabs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

“This is on top of all their other work and we want to sincerely thank primary care for their hard work and exceptional contribution to our testing response,” says a Ministry of Health spokesperson.

“The Ministry also thanks everyone for playing their part in complying with Alert Level 4, in getting a test and for their patience at sites while there is high demand.

“And of course, huge thanks to testing staff for stepping up yet again – these staff are working at pace at the frontline of our COVID-19 response, in high-stress environments, and making personal sacrifices to keep our communities safe.”

There are 14 community testing centres available for testing across Auckland today including two new pop up community testing centres at Warkworth and Takanini.

“We will continue to open additional testing sites to ensure everyone who needs a test can get one,” says a Ministry of Health spokesperson.

“However, given testing is at ten times usual rates, we are however expecting high demand again today. Queues have built through the morning and people should prepare to be waiting for some time.

“Please wear a mask, take food and water with you, take a book to read or something to watch. Please be courteous and kind to hard working testing staff.”

For up-to-date information on testing locations in Auckland, visit www.arphs.health.nz/covid19test. For up-to-date info on all testing locations, visit www.healthpoint.co.nz/covid-19/

A testing site remains open at the Coromandel Town car park and one has been opened at Tokoroa’s Memorial sportsground

In Wellington, around 2,500 people were tested yesterday. New testing sites continue to open up. Today, a testing site at Sky Stadium opened at 9am – it will remain open until nine o’clock tonight.

A pop-up site has also opened at Whitireia Polytechnic in Porirua at 10am and will remain open to 5pm.

Sky Stadium and other testing sites at Riverbank Carpark in Lower Hutt, Canons Creek and Hataitai Park will be open between 9am and 9pm today, tomorrow and Monday.

The testing site at Te Papa will be open until 6pm today and again over the coming days.

QR codes are available for the public to scan inside the testing tents and a reminder to people to scan in when at testing sites.

Most people arriving at pop-up testing centres travel by car and stay in their car during the testing process wearing masks. Those on foot should follow strict clinical protocols, maintaining physical distancing and wearing masks.

For up-to-date information on all testing locations nationwide, visit www.healthpoint.co.nz/covid-19/

The total number of COVID-19 tests processed by laboratories to date in New Zealand is 2,653,699.

The seven-day rolling average is 14,228.

Wastewater
Anyone who has been at a location of interest at the relevant time or is symptomatic and is in the Warkworth area is asked to get tested after COVID-19 was strongly detected in wastewater samples collected from Warkworth on Tuesday.

A pop up testing centre has been set up in Warkworth at 77 Morrison Drive. People are asked to call ahead on 09 4258585 or 09 4238086.

The wastewater catchment area at Warkworth is 3,500 people. Extra samples will be taken from Warkworth and Snells Beach today and tomorrow.

ESR is now testing wastewater at 41 sites across the country, covering 3.7 million New Zealanders. Of the 41 current sites, 13 are in Auckland and four are in Wellington. Further sites are also being added.

COVID-19 was also detected in wastewater taken from a sample from Moa Point in Wellington yesterday while samples taken from other sites in Wellington at Porirua, Seaview and Karori were negative.

There continues to be COVID-19 detected in wastewater in the Auckland region based on samples which were taken on Thursday. This includes the Waitakere region, the North Shore and Eastern Auckland. The virus was also newly detected from Southern Regional Auckland (which includes Middlemore Hospital).

ESR expects to receive further samples later today from Auckland, Wellington and Coromandel.

There have been other detections to report from wastewater samples taken from other areas around the country.

Locations of interest
“We are continuing to add locations of interest as interviews from confirmed cases completed by public health staff,” says a Ministry of Health spokesperson.

There are now more than 210 locations of interest listed on the Ministry’s website.

“We will continue to update this progressively. There is now an interactive map that makes it easier to identify locations of interest.

“The Ministry’s website also includes advice on what to do if you were at any of these locations at the time when you could potentially have been exposed. Text message alerts are being sent to people who scanned in using the COVID-19 Tracer App at locations during the relevant times.”

If you were at a location of interest at the specified time, please self-isolate and call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on testing.

Contact tracing
Public health staff across New Zealand continue to contact trace, with focus on higher risk locations.

“The number of contacts has increased significantly. This is something we expected as we identify more cases and locations of interest,” says a Ministry of Health spokesperson.

“As of 10am today, a total of 5065 individual contacts are in our national contact tracing system.”

The majority of contacts are located in the Auckland and Waikato regions, with a small proportion located in other areas throughout the rest of North Island and South Island. As of 10am today, 1982 contacts were located in the Auckland and Waikato regions, 266 contacts were located throughout the rest of New Zealand, and the location of the remaining contacts is still being established.

Metro Auckland Hospitals
The North Shore Hospital Emergency Department continues to be closed for until further notice with ambulances being diverted to other Auckland EDs. The Hospital is open to direct primary care medical and surgical admissions with a referral from a GP.

On site staff testing is now in place at North Shore Hospital (for both symptomatic and asymptomatic staff). As at 6.30am this morning 829 Waitemata DHB staff had undergone testing at both community centres and on site. All returned results are negative, with 208 results still pending.

“We have identified 137 staff who were potentially in contact with the positive patient at North Shore Hospital and who are isolating; 84 of these have returned negative results.”

Of the patients who were in affected areas at the same time as the positive patient, 20 of these are still in hospital and all have been swabbed and their test results are all negative.

Public health officials are closely monitoring the situation and additional support is available for hospitals across Metro Auckland, if needed.

Section 70 Notices
A Section 70 notice remains in place which puts a legal requirement on all people who were at locations of interest at the relevant times to follow the instructions regarding isolation and testing. It is also very important that essential workers regularly check the locations of interest so they can isolate immediately and get tested if they have been at any of these locations at the relevant times.

There is also a Section 70 notice that applies to household members of those who have been at locations of interest or have been categorised as a close contact. These household members are required to isolate until the contact has returned a negative day-five test result. Household members are not required to be tested unless they develop symptoms.

The requirements of this second notice do not apply to people who are required to provide an essential health service as long as they are vaccinated, the household member who visited the location of interest has had a negative result, and no one in the house has symptoms.

Failure or refusal to comply with these directions is an offence under s 72 of the Health Act 1956.

COVID-19 vaccine update
Yesterday, the Ministry of Health administered the biggest daily total to date – 56,843 doses. This was made up of 37,107 first doses, and 19,736 second doses.

Almost 2.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to date - to 11.59pm on August 20.

Of these, 1.71 million are first doses and 983,000 are second doses.

Just under 150,000 Mâori have received their first vaccination. Of these, more than 90,000 have also had their second vaccinations.

Nearly 100,000 doses have been administered to Pacific peoples. Of these, more than 61,000 have also received their second doses.

It is very important that anyone who has symptoms, has been at a location of interest, is a close contact or who has had a COVID-19 test does not attend a vaccination centre. Anyone in these groups should be self-isolating and not leaving the house for any reason until a negative test result is received or until cleared by public health staff.

NZ COVID Tracer
NZ COVID Tracer now has 2,982,119 registered users.

Poster scans have reached 326,947,444 and users have created 13,574,907 manual diary entries.

There have been 554,019 scans in the 24 hours to midday yesterday.

“While New Zealand remains in Alert Level 4, we expect poster scan numbers to be lower,” says a Ministry of Health spokesperson.

“Thanks to all New Zealanders scanning in when they do head out and to all essential workers who are continuing to scan in when they visit new locations.”

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3 Comments
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@Sim Shady

Posted on 25-08-2021 16:51 | By morepork

Events have proved the model was wrong, so your comment was fair. Because of my background I am used to using and checking models based on statistical analysis. The problem with this one is that it was too early and did not therefore have enough base data, but even so, it was publicized and it was wrong, as you said. (I’ll be more skeptical in future... :-))

lol

Posted on 23-08-2021 16:52 | By

The ’model’ builds in extra so when it comes in under Adhern can say we done well and pat ourselves on the back. It’s like the vaccine ’plan’. Completely false and meaningless, but hey, it seems to have worked on you.

The model ...

Posted on 23-08-2021 13:58 | By morepork

... says we should expect around 150 cases so it looks like it is on target, or maybe we are even doing a bit better than the prediction.