There were 65 community cases of Covid-19 today as the government and healthcare providers prepared for the Super Saturday “Vaxathon.”
These are some of the developments related to the coronavirus as of today.
Today’s 65 cases were recorded in Auckland.
Today there was no press conference. In a statement, the ministry said 34 of these cases were linked, 10 were domestic contacts and 31 remained unrelated to ongoing investigations. There have been 107 unrelated cases in the last 14 days.
While all the cases were in Tāmaki Makaurau, a second test for Covid-19 in the wastewater from Te Awamutu returned a positive result. The sample was taken on Wednesday, following the detection of Covid-19 in wastewater on Tuesday.
Super Saturday and the Vaxathon
More than 120 additional vaccination sites will be open for tomorrow’s ‘Super Saturday’ event, and the Health Ministry said vaccines remain “New Zealand’s number one protection against Covid-19.”
The Vaxathon aims to increase the number of vaccinations by around 100,000.
The event will take place from 12 pm to 8 pm on Saturday and will be broadcast on multiple platforms including TV3, Māori Television, and on Hahana’s Facebook page.
Well-known celebrities, influencers and healthcare professionals will headline the live broadcast to help capture the atmosphere and experiences of those who receive their first or second vaccination.
RNZ will provide over-the-air and online coverage, including a live blog, from across the country.
There’s more about Super Saturday here.
Maori leaders continue to raise concerns
The co-leader of the National Māori Pandemic Group, Dr. Papaarangi Reid, said she was concerned about the trajectory of the outbreak in Auckland.
Reid told Morning Report that the group supported calls for an alert level 4 circuit breaker lockdown in Auckland, to give Maori a chance to increase vaccination rates.
“… a circuit breaker would be ideal, to get back to acute level 4 conditions and buy us some time to increase vaccination rates and decrease the spread that is obviously occurring in the Auckland community.”
But Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has ruled out going back to level 4.
Reid’s concerns arise after a coalition of Maori health organizations in Auckland urged the government to revert to a Covid-19 elimination strategy, saying that many Maori will die if it does not.
The new rules leave it to principals to decide whether their students must take tests in alert level 3 regions.
The Ministry of Education directive sets strict conditions and is being enforced by Auckland schools offering the Cambridge International Examinations and the International Baccalaureate.
The ministry has been granting waivers for schools that want to bring small groups of students back to class during alert level 3 and as of mid-September had approved 16 out of 17 requests from schools that wanted to do so for exams.
He said the directive issued this week clarified the rules for conducting exams during alert level 3.
The board said principals can request an exemption to offer exams only if, in their opinion, it is necessary to bring students to the site to take exams in person.
Isolation periods are likely to be shorter for those vaccinated
Those who contract Covid-19 despite being fully vaccinated will likely require shorter periods of isolation, Director General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield said today.
Bloomfield told Morning Report that vaccinated people appeared to be infectious for a shorter period of time.
“They are less likely to transmit the virus and, if they are infectious, they are infectious for a shorter period, therefore, especially if they are asymptomatic … they would only require a shorter period at home.”
In contrast, those who are not vaccinated, even if they had no symptoms, were more likely to transmit the virus, Bloomfield said.
“Therefore, they would have to remain isolated to avoid transmitting it to others, for a longer period.”