Saturday, November 27

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

There are currently 21 new community cases of Covid-19 in the country.

A testing station for the Assembly of God congregations in Māngere.

A Covid-19 testing station in Auckland.
Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

Chief Health Officer Dr Ashley Bloomfield says all the new cases are in Auckland.

Dr. Bloomfield says there is an additional case that has yet to be determined whether it is a border or community case.

Of today’s new cases, Bloomfield says that seven of them are inside a whānau, and an example of epidemiological tracing is trying to find out which of those seven people got infected first.

He says that all of the cases that have been sequenced in the outbreak have been clearly linked to this outbreak.

He says the outbreak now totals 841 cases, and of those 147 they have recovered.

The total number of unrelated cases has fallen from 33 yesterday to 24 today, thanks to the efforts of public health units, he says.

Analysis of the 20 cases yesterday shows that 17 were known case contacts and 16 were domestic contacts who were already isolated. Only four were infectious in the community, leading to eight exposure events.

The contact tracking database now has 37,971 contacts, a drop from yesterday after work to reconcile duplicates.

About 91 percent of the identified contacts have been tested.

Some 7255 swabs were processed in the labs yesterday, of which around 5,800 were done in the Greater Auckland area.

“The most important message from me today is that if you have symptoms, get tested,” says Bloomfield.

He says he wants to see around 7,000 tests per day, and that it will be supplemented by specific tests of essential workers.

Saliva testing is accelerating, he says, with a contract with another provider being finalized and expected to be available to workers who might need weekly testing as they travel across the Auckland border.

More than 830 border workers have signed up for saliva testing, Bloomfield says, and it will be available to more people over time.

Bloomfield says border workers who signed up for saliva tests will be done mostly every other day.

He says there are other employers who also do their own saliva tests.

“It’s a slime in a cup, rather than a nasopharyngeal swab … there are no capacity limitations with our current vendor providing it across the border [workforce]we are, however, finalizing a contract with an additional vendor … for people who will be crossing the Auckland boundary and also to support some of the other targeted surveillance testing if needed on some of those employers in the Auckland region in the next few weeks. “

Yesterday more than 66,000 vaccines were delivered.

“More than 60 percent of eligible New Zealanders have received their first dose and nearly a third are fully vaccinated,” says Bloomfield.

It says a mother asked the government to share a positive story about her son. He has a health condition that makes him very anxious but the nurse made him feel very safe.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reiterated this morning that “elimination is absolutely the right thing to do for us right now while we are vaccinating.”

It did not say how many people needed to be vaccinated before the tighter blocks were phased out. About 60 percent of the population has received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

With the exception of the Auckland region, the country will lower alert levels, and this time alert level 2 comes with stricter rules.

Auckland remains at level 4 until 11:59 p.m. next Tuesday, September 14; the rest of New Zealand lowers alert levels from level 3 to level 2 as of 11:59 pm tonight.

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