Covid 19 Delta outbreak: 27 new community cases; Middlemore Hospital possible exposure event

There are 27 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases in New Zealand today, 22 of which have been linked to known clusters.

All of today’s cases are in Auckland, the Ministry of Health said in a statement this afternoon.

This brings the total of unlinked cases in the past fortnight to 10.

There are 22 Covid patients in hospital, including three in ICU or HDU.

Counties Manukau DHB advised the Ministry of Health of a possible exposure event at Middlemore Hospital last night, officials said.

“A person presented to Middlemore Hospital’s Emergency Department seeking treatment for issues unrelated to Covid-19.

“The patient answered no to all screening questions but, while in triage, clinical staff noted the patient was displaying a Covid-like symptom and took steps to investigate, isolate and test.

“The patient subsequently returned a positive Covid-19 result and was moved to a Covid-19 isolation ward at Middlemore Hospital.

“The patient was wearing a mask at all times in ED. All staff were wearing appropriate PPE and as such no staff members are required to stand down.

“Counties Manukau Health’s Infection Prevention and Control team are working with the Auckland Regional Public Health Service to identify potential contacts.”

Yesterday, Middlemore Hospital chief medical officer Pete Watson told the Herald that there had been a “steady stream” of Covid-positive patients arriving at the hospital with unrelated health conditions.

Officials today said it was important people seek help when they’re sick “and know that our hospitals are safe. Our Auckland hospitals in particular, are now well used to dealing safely with Covid-19 patients”.

Border link in MIQ case

Officials said whole genome sequencing carried out by ESR had “identified a clear epidemiological link between the Naumi MIQ worker who was reported as a positive case on September 30 and another case at the border”.

“The worker tested positive on September 29 as part of routine surveillance testing. They are fully vaccinated and have been tested regularly. The hours they worked mean they had limited contact with guests at the hotel. They are now isolating in a quarantine facility.

“An investigation is under way to determine the pathway of the worker’s infection and identify potential contacts.”

There are 15 epidemiologically linked subclusters, the MoH said.

“Of these, three are active, eight are contained and four are dormant. There are 14 epidemiologically unlinked subclusters. Of these, three are active, four are contained and seven are dormant.”

Officials urged residents of Clover Park, Māngere, Favona, Manurewa, Mount Wellington/Sylvia Park, Henderson and Papakura in Auckland to get tested.

Nine of yesterday’s 19 cases were in isolation throughout their infectious period, while 10 had exposure events, the MoH said. As at midday, there were 98 locations of interest.

A total of 47,512 vaccine doses were administered yesterday, totalling 5,269,060 vaccine doses to date.

There were 22,041 tests processed in the past 24 hours, 13,083 of which were in Auckland.

There are a total of 1002 active contacts being managed, 70 per cent of which have had at least one test result.

One Covid case was also identified at the border – a person from the Maldives who travelled to New Zealand via the United Arab Emirates. They returned a positive result to a day-12 test and are in an MIQ facility in Auckland.

Alert level review on Monday

Today’s update comes just days before the next review of alert level settings, which could mean an easing of restrictions for Auckland’s nearly seven-week lockdown.

Health bosses yesterday warned to expect dozens of Delta cases in the coming days.

There were six new locations of interest listed on Saturday, including several supermarkets and a petrol station.

In the past week there has been a huge fluctuation of daily case numbers; eight were recorded on Tuesday, followed by 45 on Wednesday.

Yesterday there were 19 new cases recorded, only one of which was unlinked – bringing the number of unlinked cases from the past two weeks to nine.

At Friday’s 1pm update, director of public health Dr Caroline McElnay said about 35 more new cases could emerge in the coming days among household contacts.

Five new locations of interest were added to the Ministry of Health’s list at 10am, followed by one more at midday, bringing the total to 98 events across 73 locations.

The additions included Pak’nSave Mt Albert, Noel Leeming Ormiston, Indo Spice World and Pak’nSave in Manakau, Whenuapai Gardens Papatoetoe and Z Petrol station on Harris Rd.

On Monday the Government will deliberate on Auckland’s alert level settings, after which restrictions in the region could be eased. The city will have spent nearly seven weeks at levels 3 and 4 by this time.

Covid-19 Response minister Chris Hipkins said earlier this week that high numbers of cases did not necessarily mean Auckland could not move down alert levels.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has previously signalled the Auckland boundary would remain in place if the region moved to alert level 2 next week.

Officials have also indicated that the post-lockdown future would look different to the freedoms enjoyed before the Delta outbreak.

Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield told Newsroom masking up, scanning in and a vaccine pass to enter some venues would be part of life as long as the Delta virus remains.

There have been 1295 cases in total in the current community outbreak.

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