Covid-19 numbers dropped slightly today to 20 new community cases, while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a deal with Denmark to bring 500,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine here.
The number of new community cases of Delta variants in New Zealand dropped to 20 cases from 23 yesterday, which was the highest in several days.
In today’s media update, Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said that all new cases were in Auckland.
The total number of cases in the current community outbreak is 922. Eighteen people are in the hospital and four are in the ICU.
There were also three new cases in managed isolation.
“We don’t have widespread community transmission,” Dr. Bloomfield said at the press conference, noting that the source of most cases is clear and more are found all the time.
“Casual fleeting transmission, we really haven’t seen any cases of that.”
Dr. Bloomfield said that no staff or patients have tested positive after the three community cases announced last night by Middlemore Hospital.
The person who tested positive at Middlemore Hospital last weekend has nine other family members who tested positive, providing a clear link to the broader outbreak, Dr. Bloomfield said.
“I just want to emphasize the importance of anyone in need of care for any reason seeking that care,” said Dr. Bloomfield. “I want to assure people that our hospitals are safe.”
Vaccines from Denmark
The government has obtained an additional half a million doses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines from Denmark that will begin arriving in New Zealand in a few days, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.
“This is the second and largest agreement the government has entered into to purchase additional vaccines to meet significantly increased demand through September before our large shipments arrive in October,” Ardern said.
Ardern thanked the Danish government and the European Commission for facilitating the deal, which is in addition to another 250,000 doses from Spain announced last week.
“The combination of the Denmark and Spain agreements leaves us in the strongest position possible to vaccinate to the beat” and move beyond life with tough Covid restrictions, he said.
“Now there is nothing to stop us.”
Ardern also announced that 500,000 Aucklanders are now fully vaccinated. More than 26,000 were vaccinated yesterday.
“Thank you Auckland, and keep it up. You are doing the best you can do right now to avoid future scenarios like the one we are experiencing.”
Alert levels to consider, “low probability” of L3
The cabinet will meet tomorrow to analyze alert levels. Auckland has been on Alert Level 4 since August 17.
Ardern declined to speculate today about what the cabinet might do.
However, the recent spike in new cases and concerns about unexplained cases at Middlemore Hospital have several experts forecast Level 4 to last longer than next week.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said a further delay is likely.
“It is a concern that [Saturday] we did have an increase in the number of new Covid cases]in the community and it is a concern that that level of transmission has increased after a period in which those numbers were declining, “Goff said.
“It seems likely that there will be an additional delay to get out of alert level 4. But there really is no alternative if we want to end the transmission.
“We have made the sacrifice for almost four weeks and we have to stay the course.”
In TVNZ’s Q + A Today, modeler Rodney Jones said the likelihood of Auckland moving past Level 4 tomorrow is “very low” after 23 new cases on Saturday and new mystery cases at Middlemore Hospital.
“Yesterday was a rough day. Personally, I was put off seeing those numbers so close to decision day and then the overnight news of those unrelated infections in Middlemore.”
“It is a difficult challenge ahead.”
High-flying vacation home seekers will face the courts
Meanwhile, although much of the country is at Level 2, the police are still dealing with people who violate Auckland restrictions, in particular a couple who fled to a holiday home in Wanaka.
An Auckland couple crossed the Alert Level 4 border with essential worker exemptions, drove to Hamilton Airport and then flew to their vacation home in Wanaka, police say.
“This calculated and deliberate breach of Level 4 alert restrictions is completely unacceptable and will be extremely upsetting to all those who are working hard and making great sacrifices to end Covid in our community,” a police spokesperson said in a statement. .
The couple, a 26-year-old woman and a 35-year-old man, will be prosecuted for violating the current Health Order, by failing to return to their place of residence within the Level 4 alert area after leaving for an approved essential personal movement . .
The couple will receive a summons to appear in court next week.
Police remind the public that there are strict requirements for anyone seeking to cross alert level limits.
- 20 new community cases, all in Auckland
- 18 people are in the hospital, four in ICU or HDU
- Total cases in the current outbreak – 922
- 352 people have recovered
- Three new cases at the border
- Yesterday 10,958 tests were carried out
- 61,810 vaccines were administered
- 500,000 new doses of Pfizer will arrive from Denmark.