Saturday, December 4

Covid-19 Delta outbreak day 20: how it developed

The Nation, aside from Auckland, will drop to level 2, officials are concerned about the sharp drop in test numbers, while the new case numbers remain the same.

Covid-19 Wrap Day 20

Photo: RNZ, AFP, NZME Group

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced in today’s post-cabinet briefing that New Zealand, just outside Auckland, will move to alert level 2 starting at 11:59 pm on Tuesday, September 7.

Auckland will remain at level 4 until 11:59 p.m. next Tuesday, September 14.

The cabinet will review the alert level settings for all of New Zealand next Monday, September 13.

Lockdown Day 20 in numbers:

  • There are 20 new cases, all in Auckland.
  • 16 are linked to previously known cases and four are not
  • 40 people with Covid-19 in the hospital, six people are in intensive care
  • There are now 821 community cases: 804 in Auckland and 17 in Wellington.
  • Three new cases identified in isolation and managed quarantine

Meanwhile, the government revealed that Delta’s Alert Level 2 looks different and the settings have been changed.

Indoor hospitality venues will be limited to 50, outdoor venues will be limited to 100 people.

Indoor public facilities like gyms, which previously had no limits for people inside and required a distance of one meter, will require a distance of two meters.

Ardern also announced that face covers are now mandatory at level 2 in most public places.

People can remove their masks in places like restaurants and cafes, but staff at businesses that overlook the public must wear face covers, Ardern said.

“To keep it really simple, if you are out and about indoors, please wear a mask.”

Masks are “our new normal” at level 2, he said.

Ardern says masks are not required in schools, and Bloomfield says it is “recommended, but not required.”

Auckland test crash causes concern

Auckland has been warned: test if you want to get out of level 4.

But the number of Covid-19 swabs has dropped so fast in the city that some centers closed early on the weekend.

There were only 2,592 tests in Auckland on Saturday, one-tenth the number a few days before closing.

The Health Ministry said it wanted to see around 7,000 tests a day to keep an eye out for any undetected Covid-19 cases that could cause the outbreak to continue.

So far in Auckland that was not happening.

Te Whānau or Waipareira CEO John Tamihere said one of their centers in west Auckland closed at 1pm yesterday because there was no one to test.

Some days in this outbreak they had been open until 9pm to get work done.

South Seas Healthcare CEO Lemalu Silao Vaisola-Sefo said they have gone from roughly 1,400 swabs a day to less than 200.

His team was puzzled by the magnitude of the fall.

“With Delta as it is, I am concerned that we do not have enough evidence, especially around Auckland, to give us the true picture of what is happening on the ground,” he said.

Auckland residents had been greatly stepped up when it came to testing in the outbreak: about 20 percent of people have been swabbed.

But Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said he couldn’t stop now.

He reminded the tens of thousands of contacts to recall their follow-up tests and said New Zealanders around the world should get tested if they have symptoms.

“Even if it’s a runny nose or aches and pains, we’d like to have a test done,” he said.

Robertson said that the country could not afford to be complacent with the drop in the number of cases (20 for two days in a row) and only needed to look at Victoria, who was on track to beat Covid-19 when the number of cases returned. To increase.

MIQ staff infractions

Two staff members are among those who have violated Covid-19 infection prevention rules at quarantine facilities since the current outbreak began in the community.

Staff members were found not to be wearing masks properly, while caring for hundreds of people who had confirmed cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19.

The joint chief of managed isolation and quarantine, Brigadier Rose King, said eight “bubble breaks” have been reported in specialized quarantine facilities since the outbreak began.

That doesn’t include the incident where a positive Covid-19 community case escaped from the Novotel and Ibis in Ellerslie on Wednesday night.

“The Auckland bubble bursts include incidents such as a staff member wearing his mask incorrectly and, separately, another staff member wearing the wrong mask,” Brigadier King said.

“They were both reminded of the EPP protocols.”

No further repercussions for staff members were mentioned.

King said there were other infractions in Auckland.

University of Otago epidemiologist Michael Baker said staff violations were of particular concern.

“We have to assume that everyone in these facilities is potentially infectious, so any violation is concerning because it could provide a pathway for this virus to pass from one of those infected returnees into the community,” Baker said.

“And of course it’s even more important right now because instead of having maybe 20-30 people in our MIQ system, we have hundreds of infected people in the system in Auckland right now because so many people have been infected in the community.

“This is really going to be overloading our system at the moment, so it is even more important than usual that staff follow good practices and ensure that people staying at these facilities follow these precautions.”

Middlemore Hospital infection

A case of Covid-19 in a Middlemore patient who shared a room with three others has raised questions about the screening and testing procedures of those admitted to the hospital.

Midwifery Employee Representation and Advisory Services (MERAS) co-leader Jill Ovens said there was capacity for everyone who went to the hospital to be screened for Covid-19.

“We hear all weekend that we have been disappointing in Auckland by not going out and getting tested for the slightest cold and yet there are patients who show up to emergency departments who are not automatically screened.

“It seems to me that if we want to increase our test numbers, the place to start is in our emergency rooms.”

But Dr. John Bonning of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine said that testing patients for Covid-19 before admitting them to the hospital was not an option, given the time it took for test results to be returned.

He said the Delta variant was still “really challenging.”

The director of the New Zealand Nursing Organization, Kerri Nuku, said the news of the positive case in Middlemore was disturbing to all involved and reflected a healthcare system under pressure.

She said all patients should be treated as if they have Covid-19 until proven otherwise, but hospitals did not have the resources to treat them as such.

He also knew that there were staffing problems in the wards where the patient had been.

“This kind of pressure on the healthcare system often has some flaws.”

Nuku said the union wanted to see adequate support for the nursing staff, and that around 18 of their colleagues needed to isolate themselves after the incident.

Health Director General Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the link to the positive case had not yet been found at the hospital, but interviews were ongoing.

“I’m sure there will be a link there,” he said.

Essential workers crossing the border must undergo weekly testing

Essential workers who cross the alert level limits will need to undergo weekly testing, Bloomfield announced.

Those people are expected to have undergone a test in the past seven days and must show proof of it, he said.

Three thousand people cross the border between Auckland and the rest of the country every day.

People transiting between Auckland will need to do so without stopping if moving from South Auckland to Northland.

During the Level 2 / Level 4 transition, the message to travelers is “Don’t stop in Auckland,” Ardern said.

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