Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: Jacinda Ardern reveals 21 new cases in community – 51 cases in total

There are 21 new cases of Covid-19 in the community – bringing the total number of people infected in the latest outbreak to 51.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she expects cases to rise into early next week before they start to drop.

The virus can continue to spread during lockdown, as has been seen in New South Wales, Ardern said.

Ardern said the 825 cases announced in NSW today was “devastating”.

As well as the 21 community cases, Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay said there were also 3 new cases in MIQ.

Eighteen of the new cases are in Auckland and three in Wellington – one of which was reported yesterday, she said.

Twenty-one of the 51 cases are now confirmed as part of the Auckland cluster.

Covid 19 has been found in wastewater at Warkworth on Tuesday.

A pop-up centre has been erected in Warkworth and it is encouraged anyone with symptoms to get a test.

Cases of Covid-19 have been found in Auckland wastewater this week too.

Genome sequencing for 29 cases has been conducted – and all are connected to the Auckland cluster.

Isolation in level 4 means isolation from household members, McElnay said.

Five thousand and sixty five contacts had been identified so far in this cluster and a further 5000 close contacts expected by end of today.

McElnay says infected Kiwis dealing which contact tracers are often very stressed and it takes some time to get accurate locations of interest

More than 50,000 Covid jabs yesterday

Ardern wanted to start her update today by sharing some good news, the most vaccinations in a single day yesterday – 56,843.

Yesterday, New Zealand saw the most Covid tests in a single day: 41464, Ardern said.

Ardern lauded the “record numbers” of testing and vaccinations yesterday.

“We need to test, test, test, to get an accurate picture of the virus,” Ardern said.

There are 14 testing centres open across Auckland today.

In Wellington there are 6 testing centres, including 3 pop ups that arose overnight, Ardern said.

New Zealand’s biggest university and two more top schools have had students test positive for Covid – sending at least 7000 secondary students and their families into isolation.

Yesterday there were 11 new cases in the community, eight in Auckland, and three in Wellington – for a total of 31 cases overall.

The three in Wellington had recently travelled to Auckland and visited a location of interest there.

The Delta outbreak has also sent TV star Hilary Barry and 1000 others into isolation after a gala awards dinner attended by another positive case.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield will not be appearing at today’s 1pm press conference.

STORY CONTINUES AFTER LIVE BLOG

STORY CONTINUES

Nineteen cases are now confirmed as part of the Auckland outbreak, with the remaining 12 under investigation to confirm the linkage to the outbreak. Initial assessment shows in most cases there is a plausible link

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also extended the alert level 4 lockdown nationwide until 11:59pm Tuesday August 24, bringing most of the country in line with Auckland and the Coromandel.

But it appears Auckland faces a longer lockdown, until at least late August, with the director general of health Ashley Bloomfield confirming he wanted an extension. That is now likely to be announced early next week.

Ardern would not directly answer questions on the matter, saying it was too soon to say what this outbreak would mean in the long term for Auckland.

Ardern’s message to NZ yesterday was to please check locations of interest – if you were there at the time and date get tested.

Anyone with cold and flu symptoms should get a test, she said.

If you’re a contact please stay home and isolate, she urged.

“Everyone else should stay at home and stick to their bubble.”

“You must wear a mask at dairies and supermarkets – and when you leave your home generally”

Wash your hands and scan in when you visit an essential service, she said.

“Even though we all want to block out the memory of 2020, we have been here before and we know the elimination strategy works.”

“Everyone needs to play their part.”

Education institutions report cases

As New Zealand starts lockdown weekend, with 28 confirmed cases in Auckland and three in Wellington, students at the University of Auckland and Auckland’s De la Salle College and McAuley High School have tested positive – and attended classes while infectious.

There are now five Auckland secondary schools affected by the outbreak – De la Salle College, McAuley High School, Avondale College, Northcote College and Lynfield College – with a combined student population of 7000.

An email to staff last night from the University of Auckland’s vice-chancellor, Dawn Freshwater, said a student – a resident at Whitaker Block – attended classes on Monday and Tuesday this week.

The student then travelled to Wellington to be with family before testing positive, Freshwater said.

“The university is working closely with the relevant health agencies on this situation, and is following their protocols, including for contact-tracing, to support our student and to protect the wider university community,” Freshwater said.

Residents in the university’s Whitaker Block were warned about the positive case.

Parents and caregivers of Auckland’s De la Salle College and McAuley High School were also advised by letter of the news of the positive cases.

McAuley, in Ōtāhuhu, has roll of close to 800 and the student attended class while infectious on August 17.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said this morning he hadn’t been given an overnight update on the latest numbers but “there will be more cases”.

Robertson refused to confirm Auckland’s lockdown would likely extend beyond Tuesday – amid criticism from businesses that the Government should have confirmed that yesterday.

Robertson said the Government wanted to see all of the data and information from the weekend, before Cabinet met on Monday.

As well as details of the new cases, the Delta outbreak has seen Kiwis rally to get tested – around 200 cars were already in line at the Henderson testing station as at 8am Saturday.

Testing at the Wairau Valley testing station appears to have been delayed this morning with one person saying a security guard cited a “technical issue” was to blame.

The Herald understands there were supply problems which delayed the centre from starting on time.

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