Covid 19 Delta outbreak: 33 new community cases as Govt decides on alert levels

There are 33 new community cases today as the Government decides on New Zealand’s alert levels.

Only one of today’s 33 cases is still to be epidemiologically linked and all are in Auckland.

The one new community case announced today that has not been epidemiologically linked is a person who presented to Middlemore Hospital on Saturday. However, their seven other household members have also tested positive and are linked.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and director general of health Ashley Bloomfield will front a press conference at 4pm to announce Cabinet’s alert level decision.

There are eight epidemiologically linked subclusters – the two largest subclusters are the Mangere church group (381) and the Birkdale social network cluster (76).

Nine subclusters are not epidemiologically linked.

There are 21 people with Covid in hospital and four in ICU. As of 10am today, there are 126 locations of interest.

Seven of yesterday’s 20 cases had exposure events. The other 13 were in isolation throughout the period they were infectious.

Some 8657 Covid tests have been carried out in the last 24 hours – and almost half of those have been in Auckland.

There were no unexpected wastewater detections in the past 24 hours.

So far 2,862,765 people have received their first vaccines and 1,462,725 have had their second jabs.

Auckland has already been in lockdown for two weeks more than the rest of the country and as the number of new people with Covid bounced back up over the weekend, experts are now warning the city may be facing longer in level 4.

The three new border cases are linked to travellers from Serbia and Montenegro, and India.

The Ministry of Health is urging people across Auckland to get tested, especially those who live in and around Massey, Favona, Henderson, Ôtara, Papatoetoe, Mângere and Manurewa.

In the past 24 hours, there have been 2,200,284 poster scans via the Covid tracer app.

It brings the overall total of scans to 354,094,377.

On Sunday there were 20 new community Covid cases – all of them in Auckland.

There were 23 cases on Saturday.

Of the 20 cases yesterday, eight were still yet to be epidemiologically linked.

The number of people now infected with Covid bouncing back up comes as a blow to Aucklanders who were beginning to get optimistic a move in alert changes could be coming when Friday’s figures slumped to a low of just 11 community cases.

New locations of interest

Four new locations of interest have been identified in the latest Ministry of Health update.

• Countdown Botany Downs, on the corner of Te Irirangi Drive and Tī Rākau Drive, Botany Downs
• Otara Mini Supermarket Otara, 126, East Tāmaki Road, Otara

There are only two individual locations included in the midday update.

However, three visits to the Otara Mini Supermarket were made by a person with Covid-19.

A person with the virus visited firstly on the morning of Friday, September 3, between 11.40am and 12.58pm.

Another visit was recorded on the same day between 6.55pm and 8pm.

The third visit by a person who has tested positive to Covid was reported last Wednesday, September 8, between 4.13pm and 5.30pm.

Countdown Botany Downs is already on the location of interest page.

A new visit by a Covid-positive person has been recorded on Saturday, September 4, between 10.07am and 10.45am.

Mystery case concern

While the Government has previously said it would not necessarily wait until there were zero cases in the community before moving alert levels – it has been concerned by the number of unlinked or “mystery cases” popping up.

As of yesterday there were eight epidemiologically linked sub clusters, including the Māngere church and Birkdale social clusters and nine sub clusters that were epidemiologically unlinked.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson told Newshub this morning that he would not pre-empt Cabinet’s decision today.

He didn’t believe there was wide community transmission in Auckland, but said there were a “handful of mystery cases” that were concerning and they needed to know just how far the spread was.

Level 4 was tough, but it was the best chance of getting on top of the virus and breaking the chain of transmission, he said. “That is happening, but there are still a few cases at the edges.”

He promised the Government would to make sure it laid out a very clear plan for Aucklanders this afternoon.

Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker told TVNZ this morning he thought it was too early for Auckland to move out of level 4 and doing so could see new Covid cases flaring up again.

He said the mystery cases could prove to be a problem – in that they could easily spark up other clusters.

“The trouble is these are people we don’t know about.

“This is the end of the outbreak in Auckland and we just have to persist for a few more days.”

Pacific health expert Dr Collin Tukuitonga told TVNZ this morning he also felt it was too early for Auckland to come out of alert level 4 based on the new and mystery cases still popping up in the community.


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