As the Covid-19 Delta outbreak increases by 34 new cases – 31 in Auckland and three in Waikato – and police continue to try to locate another suspected case in Northland, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has doubled down on the decision to immerse the region in the lock.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the decision to raise Northland to Alert Level 3 was the ‘right thing to do’ as the Department of Health confirms 34 additional community cases of Covid-19 – 31 in Auckland and three in Waikato.
In a written update, the Department of Health confirmed that 11 of the new cases were unrelated and were still under investigation. Of the related cases, 11 are family contacts. All of Waikato’s new cases are linked to the original Hamilton East case, the ministry confirmed.
On top of that, 31 of Friday’s 44 new cases have been confirmed as contagious in the community.
Saturday’s case update brings the outbreak to 1,527 cases in total.
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Positive sewage results were detected in Hamilton and North Palmerston on October 6-7.
There are 26 cases in the hospital, seven of which are in intensive care or high dependency units (HDU).
One of the people hospitalized is in Palmerston North. The remaining hospitalized cases are spread around Auckland and Waikato – three in North Shore, 13 in Middlemore, eight in Auckland City and one at the Waikato Base Hospital.
There are 16 linked sub-clusters, of which six are active, one is contained and nine are dormant. There are 14 additional unbound sub-clusters – five are active and nine are dormant.
The ministry also confirmed that 1,877 contacts are actively managed – 71 percent got at least one test result – and that there are 267 places of interest.
Looking at vaccination and testing figures – Friday, a total of 23,735 swabs were processed and 85,757 doses were given (18,568 first doses and 67,189 second doses). There are now 2,287,854 fully vaccinated people in the country.
The ministry also confirmed two new cases in managed isolation. One of them arrived from India via Serbia, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia on October 6. They tested positive on day 14 in managed isolation in Auckland after being identified as a contact of a case. The other MIQ case had already been reported on September 16, reclassified as under investigation and confirmed as a case on Saturday.
Northland ‘right thing to do’ level 3 decision, case remains in quarantine
Northland plunged into the Alert Level 3 lockdown at 11:59 p.m. Friday after it was discovered that a new community case had traveled “widely” to the area.
The woman, who initially returned a weakly positive result on Monday but then tested positive on Thursday, used forged documents to cross the border. She has since returned to Auckland and is not cooperating with health authorities and contact tracers, who attempt to confirm any places of interest related to her movements and then alert contacts.
Ardern said that due to the lack of cooperation and the wide variation in human movements in the region, they placed the Northland region at level 3 because it was “the right thing to do.”
“In this case, we will only operate on the evidence and facts available to us, the police are involved and we are working very hard to obtain additional information.
The ministry confirmed on Saturday that the woman is in an Auckland quarantine center.
âPublic health staff continue to work closely with the case to determine places of interest or exposure events associated with the case. Public health personnel also work closely with police to identify possible locations or areas of interest, âthe ministry said in its 1 pm statement.
Authorities are looking for another woman who traveled to the area with the HIV-positive woman because they fear she may also be infected. She has not yet been contacted.
Ardern confirmed that police had identified the woman and were working to locate her.
âIt’s extremely frustrating,â Ardern said.
In the meantime, Ardern has encouraged people to get tested.
It is understood that the two women are sex workers with gang connections, and they stayed together in a hotel in WhangÄrei.
However, Ardern said there was no evidence to support this theory.
“There is no evidence to support some of the claims that have been circulating online and on social media. What we do know from the CCTV footage is that the individual was traveling with a woman, we do know. that for the place where he was staying – they were traveling with a woman.
The Department of Health confirmed three new sites of interest in Northland on Saturday – Pepe’s Dairy and Comfort Hotel Flames in WhangÄrei on October 3 and 2, respectively, and the Department of Conservation’s Uretiti campsite in Waipu on October 3.
Anyone in Northland with symptoms or who has visited a place of interest at the specified times should be tested and self-isolate until the results are returned.
There are six testing stations in the region – at WhangÄrei, Moerewa, Kaikohe, Kerikeri and Kaitaia. Reservations are not required.
Strong response to testing in Waikato
The ministry said there continued to be a “strong response” to calls for testing in Waikato with 5,000 swabs taken on Friday.
Pop-up test sites are operating in Claudelands, Te Rapa, Karapiro, Raglan and Kawhia, and the Founders Theater site is still open.
The ministry is urging anyone in the region with symptoms to get tested as it could be Covid-19.
Vaccination rates in the region soared with 9,946 doses given on Friday. The health ministry said there were “sharp increases” in rural areas.
A total of 78.2% of the eligible population in the region had received a dose and 52.6% were fully immunized.
âA big thank you to everyone who came forward.
âAlert levels for all of Waikato will be reviewed again on Monday. “
Ardern itinerant vaccination sites
Ardern this week visited a number of vaccination clinics in the North Island to encourage higher vaccination rates.
She stopped at centers in Rotorua, Murupara and Hastings, where she said on social media that she played the role of “main distraction” while people were getting vaccinated. She also visited Wairoa where local rangatahi (youth) held a question-and-answer session on Covid-19 at its vaccination center.
On Saturday, while in Ruatoria, she told reporters that she would spend time with the vaccination teams and with community members.
âWe know that over the past two days we have seen record levels of vaccination for Maori and this is really a high priority for us right now, and we continue to see those numbers increase. This campaign is about New Zealand, we want every corner to be reached, so every corner is safe â.
The vaccine tour came after the health ministry released detailed data showing which regions were falling below the national first-dose average of 77.9%. Data showed that many parts of Northland, the interior of Abondance Bay and East Cape, as well as the west coast, had below-average rates.