Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: 41 new community cases, total now 148

There are 41 new Covid-19 cases in the community today, bringing the total since the outbreak began to 148.

Thirty-eight of the new cases are in Auckland and three of the new cases are in Wellington, director general of health Ashley Bloomfield says.

Bloomfield and Deputy Minister Grant Robertson both expected more new active Covid-19 cases in the days ahead.

“We’re not there yet,” Robertson said.

It could be several days before new case numbers peaked.

Bloomfield said a large proportion of cases were now of Samoan ethnicity, as a result of the sub cluster of about 58 cases linked to the Assembly of God Church of Samoa in Mangere.

The cluster from the Samoan Assembly Of God Church in South Auckland’s Māngere included people who attended a service, and their contacts.

Eight patients are in hospital with Covid-19 but none of those in intensive care,Bloomfield said.

The majority of new cases were household contacts of existing cases or people who’d been at known locations of interest.

“There are several mutations that are appearing that are helping to identify sub-clusters,” Bloomfield said.

The second-largest sub-cluster was centred on Birkdale, on Auckland’s North Shore, and had about 23 known cases.

9000 people self-isolating

Bloomfield said more than 9,000 contacts had been contacted and were self-isolating.

Almost 900 frontline contact-traces were working on the pandemic response, Bloomfield said.

“All of our cases are interviewed within 24 hours,” Bloomfield added.

There are more than 100 new locations of interest today.

A record 63,333 vaccinations were administered yesterday.

Bloomfield said it was important for more people to get their first Covid-19 vaccine dose.

Everybody could apply for vaccinations from September 1.

Robertson said this should lead to more Māori and Pasifika getting vaccinated.

“You can expect to see those groups really ramping their work up.”

Bloomfield said strict health and safety measures would be in place at vaccination centres.

'Like a whole new virus'

Bloomfield said he spoke with his Australian counterpart, who said Delta was “like a whole new virus”.

The extreme infectiousness of Delta made it critical people followed Level 4 rules, Bloomfield said.

In some cases where a high risk of infection existed, everyone in a household bubble must stay home.

“This means staying home by everybody, full stop.”

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Waits for tests dropping – Bloomfiend

Bloomfield said more than 35,000 tests were processed yesterday.

“The waits are getting less, certainly in Auckland.”

More than 20 community testing centres had been established in Auckland, and 11 centres in Wellington.

“Anyone who is a close contact or who has been at a high-risk setting, that testing is prioritised.”

These people had their tests fast-tracked at five testing centres, which were effectively invitation-only centres, Bloomfield said.

“Any tests in high-risk people are turned around very quickly.”

Roberston said testing capacity in Auckland was stretched at the moment.

Wastewater testing

Wastewaster testing had found no unexpected results.

“The second sample from Warkworth has come back negative.”

The Covid-19 traces in Warwkworth may have been due to a person passing through the town north of Auckland, Bloomfield said.

Healthline had taken more than one million calls now, and more than 2000 people were working on the vaccination helpline.

$484m of wage subsidy payments

Robertson, the Finance Minister, said a range of support measures were available to help with the Covid-19 response, including the leave support scheme.

This scheme was valued at $600 a week for full-time workers.

He urged workers to talk to employers about what help was available.

The resurgence support payment was now available, Robertson said, and available nationally to any business with a greater than 30 per cent drop in revenue over seven days due to lockdown.

This could also help with rent or fixed costs for businesspeople.

The wage subsidy scheme had processed more than 100,000 applications totalling about $484 million, Robertson said.

Businesses applying for the subsidy were mostly sole traders.

Most had between one to 19 staff members, the Finance Minister said.

Only one employer with more than 500 employees had applied for the subsidy so far.
Roberston thanked businesses for their response to the latest outbreak.

“Thank you for how you are adapting to the lockdown and adjusting your systems,” he added.

The economy overall had been performing well lately, he said.

“Everybody is playing their part in New Zealand at this time.”

He said more than 4500 people were working at MIQ facilities, and Robertson extended his thanks to those staff from all agencies involved.

Enough public money was available to deal with the wage subsidy and other existing support schemes, Robertson said.

Enough public money was available to deal with the wage subsidy and other existing support schemes, Robertson said.

Because big businesses were not yet applying for subsidies, the financial outlook was good, he said.

“There are underspends in other parts of the fund…we have significant resources available.”

“So there is no shortage of funding here. The New Zealand economy has been incredibly resilient.”

He said a public health-centred approach had protected the economy during the pandemic.

On Monday 35 new cases were announced, bringing the total to 107 – 99 in Auckland and 8 in Wellington.

The news preceded an announcement that Auckland’s lockdown would be extended another week, reflecting it as the epicentre and growing close contact and places of interest numbers, and the rest of New Zealand until 11.59pm Friday.

On Tuesday morning it was revealed a worker at Auckland’s Novotel Ellerslie managed isolation centre had tested positive for Covid.

Residents were told in a letter that the staffer had previously visited a location of interest. They had been self-isolating since and were tested on August 20.

An investigation has now begun to work out how the staff member caught the virus and if it was transmitted to anyone else. Genome sequencing will be carried out to help with this, according to Newshub.

Close contacts among staff members and those outside the facility are now being established through an interview with the person.

Joint MIQ head Brigadier Rose King reassured guests in the letter that there were “robust processes in place to respond to these kinds of events”.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is warning to expect the number of Covid cases to rise again today as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to spread through households and the community.

There are currently more than 400+ locations of interest, with the latest Auckland locations including supermarkets, takeaway outlets, the Auckland Art Gallery and now a new school: Green Bay High.

Other new locations revealed today include St Therese Catholic Church in Māngere East,
The Warehouse at West City Waitākere and several more bus routes.

Meanwhile, a lecturer at Victoria University in Wellington has also tested positive but students have been reassured the university was not a location of interest due to the person not working at the time they were considered contagious.

Meanwhile, the Government is still investigating how the original transmission occurred from the New South Wales returnee who was staying in MIQ at the Crowne Plaza.

Ardern told RNZ they were still working through “some theories” regarding whether or not a Covid outbreak happened at a walkway at the Crowne Plaza.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson told MPs today that the economy is well-positioned to deal with the Delta outbreak.

So far 127,935 businesses have had wage subsidy applications approved, which has seen $484.4 million already paid out to businesses.

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