Saturday, November 27

Covid-19 update: 21 new community cases in New Zealand today

Today 21 new community cases of Covid-19 have been reported in New Zealand.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director of Public Health Caroline McElnay have given an update on the Covid-19 situation.

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Three of the new cases are in Wellington, while the rest are in Auckland. There are also three new Covid-19 cases to report in recent returnees today.

Dr McElnay said the total number of community cases related to the current Auckland outbreak is 51.

All cases have been or are being transferred to isolation facilities managed using strict infection prevention and control procedures, McElnay said.

Ardern said he still expected the cases to increase until next week before they began to decline.

“One of the things we have learned from NSW is that the virus can continue to be spread during lockdown by people going to work or by people breaking the lockdown rules, this is one of the key reasons why their numbers cases continue to increase and their confinement is extended. “

He said that no one wanted a prolonged lockdown, so to avoid it he asked everyone to “stick to his bubble.”

More than 5,000 individual contacts have been identified and the Ministry of Health expects them to grow and increase by another 5,000 by the end of today.

Most of those contacts are in the Auckland and Waikato regions, with a small proportion in the rest of the North Island and the South Island, Dr. McElnay said.

He said public health personnel are quickly interviewing the cases to find out how they became infected and determine more details of their movements.

“They are working tirelessly to investigate the cases.”

McElnay says that isolating themselves at alert level 4 means isolating themselves from other members of the household, so when contacts are tested, they must remain isolated until they retrieve their evidence.

He said that 829 Waitematā DHB staff members had been tested and all results so far were negative, with 208 results pending. All patients in the affected areas have tested negative.

The North Shore Hospital emergency department remains closed and ambulances are being diverted to other Auckland emergency departments.

ESR has completed genome sequencing for 29 cases, including the three announced yesterday in Wellington and all are linked to the Auckland group, McElnay says.

Dr McElnay said that Covid-19 had also been found in sewage tests at Warkworth, north of Auckland. Additional testing of wastewater from Warkworth and Snells Beach will be conducted today and tomorrow.

There are 41 sites across the country where wastewater testing is done. Covid-19 continues to be detected in Auckland’s wastewater.

Despite the spike in numbers, Ardern said there was good news as New Zealand hit two records yesterday, with the most vaccines and tests ever done.

56,843 vaccines were administered yesterday, the most in a single day. Ardern said 72 percent of New Zealanders over 40 are registered or have been vaccinated with at least one dose.

“This is great progress,” Ardern said.

Yesterday more than 150,000 vaccination reservations were made.

Yesterday was also the day most of the Covid-19 tests were processed in a single day, with 41,464 tests completed.

“The fact that we achieved both results on the same day is extraordinary and is exactly what we have to do to overcome the outbreak and for the future.”

There are 14 community test stations open in Auckland today, Ardern said.

On the locations of interest, Ardern said that the new genome sequencing information that had come out meant that the locations that were released before August 7 were no longer locations of interest.

He said that if you are sick and cannot go to the supermarket, you can ask your family or friends to deliver your food without contact.

“Compliance and reducing contact are critical to stopping the virus.”

Overall, compliance has been outstanding, he said.

The prime minister announced yesterday that the blocking of alert level 4 would continue until at least midnight on Tuesday.

Since then, new cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed at the University of Auckland and two more Auckland schools. In addition, the list of locations of interest has been growing.

Follow our live blog for more updates as they happen today.

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Public Health Director Caroline McElnay is giving a Covid-19 update with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today.
Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

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