Christchurch residents react when Covid reappears, trucking industry rejects regional travel vaccines mandate, and bogus bookings hamper vaccination efforts in Tairāwhiti.
Today there were 125 new cases of Covid-19 in the community, including two new cases in Christchurch, the Health Ministry reported.
There was no Covid-19 press conference today. In a statement, the ministry said the two Christchurch cases were expected and related community cases, both from a single household linked to the cases identified earlier this week.
The Ministry said 13 close contacts of the four Canterbury cases were isolating themselves and would undergo further testing. While Covid-19 was detected in a Christchurch sewage sample taken on Wednesday.
There was also one new case in Northland and four in Waikato, with the remaining 118 in Auckland. Three of the Waikato cases have yet to be linked, but the Northland case was not unexpected as they are family members from one case and were already isolating themselves.
Fifty-one of the new cases have yet to be linked. There have been 289 unrelated cases in the last 14 days.
Three new cases and one historical case were also identified at the border.
Yesterday 44,779 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine were administered, including 12,780 first doses and 31,999 second doses.
There are 39 people hospitalized with the coronavirus, including four in intensive care.
One of the new Auckland cases was a resident in the retirement village of Edmonton Meadows in Henderson.
The ministry said they are confident that the risk of infection is low but, as a precaution, tests are being arranged for all staff and residents.
The trucking industry rejects the idea of mandatory vaccines to cross regional borders
Trucking companies have rejected a vaccine mandate at regional borders saying it would exacerbate problems facing the industry, including a shortage of drivers and a fragile supply chain.
The government is considering making vaccination a requirement to cross regional borders for all but some travel.
Transportation forum executive director Nick Leggett said the industry couldn’t afford to take unvaccinated drivers off the road.
“We have a shortage of drivers and a shortage of people in the cargo industry in general. We have problems with ships that can call at our ports,” he said.
“We are committed and I believe that a mandatory requirement for vaccines at the borders would cause a significant disruption and further slow down our economy at a time when we cannot afford it.”
Anyone leaving Auckland for essential reasons must return a negative Covid-19 test within seven days of crossing the border.
But the testing regimen failed to catch an unvaccinated person who later tested positive for the virus in Christchurch following a visit to Auckland, and there are now calls for the vaccine to be a requirement for anyone leaving the region.
Leggett said the drivers did not pose a great risk of transferring Covid-19 to other people.
A recent survey of 300 trucking operators showed that 28 percent would not have enough trucks to run their business if a vaccine mandate were introduced, Leggett said.
First Union Secretary Jared Abbott said unvaccinated drivers would likely lose their jobs, compounding the existing shortage.
Northland DHB reported the two new community cases this afternoon.
Two new cases in a South Kaipara household have yet to be linked to the current Northland group.
In a statement, the Health Ministry said the two cases are in the same household and have no known link to the current Northland group. Investigations are ongoing.
The two new cases will bring the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Northland to 10.
The ministry said the couple was tested on Wednesday and has been isolating themselves with the involvement of public health.
“Investigations are continuing to determine more details about their movements and to identify any locations of interest. An additional update will be provided tomorrow.
“We are encouraging anyone in the area who has symptoms to get tested.”
A new Northland case was reported today, but the case was not unexpected – they are a family member from a case and were already isolating themselves.
Tonga MIQ positive case reportedly flew from Christchurch
The Health Ministry said it was investigating reports in the Tonga media of a positive Covid-19 test from a person who boarded a commercial flight to Tonga from Christchurch on Wednesday.
“The case came back negative in the pre-departure test before leaving New Zealand. They are fully vaccinated with the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine and received their second dose on October 15.
“They were tested in routine testing on Day 0 yesterday and tested positive today.”
The Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade are working with Tongan officials to confirm the case.
False reservations hamper Tairāwhiti’s vaccination efforts
More than 1,000 bogus vaccination stocks have hampered efforts to inject people in Tairāwhiti, the region with the lowest Covid-19 vaccination rates.
In the area that includes Gisborne and the East Cape, only 77 percent of people have received their first dose of the vaccine, and only 62 percent have received their second injection. Both rates are the lowest in the country for a region.
Health authorities have worked hard to increase vaccination rates in Tairāwhiti.
Di Akurangi, a communications advisor for local DHB Hauora Tairāwhiti, said it was a surprise to see an increase of 1,300 bookings recently and then a shock to see that they were all fakes.
“Look, I had to laugh because I was thinking ‘oh god our communications really work here in Tairāwhiti’, on the other hand, I’m thinking ‘oh no, our team now has to go through a process to remove all of that and that is also a process itself that the Ministry of Health really helps with, so it’s definitely a waste of time. “
He said that to manage the problem, staff closely monitored the reservations as they arrived.
This problem was broader than Tairāwhiti: Wellington’s doctor, Michelle Wilson, had seen similar things.
He said the Book My Vaccine system was easy to manipulate – his office received a reservation with an obvious anti-vax first and last name.
He said they had to throw out vaccines for people who didn’t show up, and that was a waste.
Christchurch residents confused and angry when Covid-19 reappears
People spoken to around Ōtautahi last night expressed a mixture of confusion and anger at the news that Covid had reappeared in their community for the first time in nearly a year.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the virus was contained and that there was no need for the city to move to level 3.
Part of the rationale for the decision was the high vaccination rates in Bishopdale, the suburb where the infected couple lives.
But one of them had traveled to parts of the city with a much lower absorption of the vaccine.
Dave Brown owned Pannell Dairy in Wainoni in the east of the city, which as of Thursday night was one of 13 locations of interest scattered throughout the city.
He learned that the person had visited his store through the media and when RNZ spoke to him, he had not yet heard from the health authorities.
“Well, it would be nice to know what we have to do from now on, if we can continue operating or we close.”
Although all its staff were twice vaccinated, one of them was immunosuppressed.
A Pannell Dairy customer whom RNZ spoke with, Cherie Shipton, provided a stark reminder of how vulnerable this part of Christchurch was to an outbreak.
The courier driver said the news that a positive case had visited the same place as her made her nervous.
“[It’s] motivating me to go get vaccinated, so I might look into that now. Yes, [I’m] I’m just not even 100 percent sure if I should get it [the vaccine]. So I’m 50-50. But yeah, I want to go back to bars and restaurants, so I probably have to get it. “
Meanwhile, Covid continued to move south, and their employer, Oceana Gold, named a worker at the Macraes mine in Otago as a close contact for the couple on Thursday night.
Transport agent is furious about treating an injured sailor
A Taranaki freight forwarder is furious that an injured sailor has been unable to receive medical treatment in New Plymouth for fear of Covid-19 and instead arrangements are being made to take him back to India.
The man fell while working on the Panamanian-flagged tanker Esteem Energy traveling between Lyttelton and Port Taranaki, injuring his back.
Phoenix Shipping represents the tanker in New Plymouth and Managing Director Billy Preston said the man appeared to have had a nasty fall.
“The captain informed us that one of the crew members slipped and injured his back and that he needs an X-ray. He sent us a photo of the man’s back and there is a fairly large scar there, so it is evident that on actually had an accident. “
Preston said that under current Covid-19 protocols, the man would normally have had a phone consultation with a GP or private healthcare provider, in this case Medicross Urgent Care and GP Clinic in New Plymouth, and then it would be decided. if you need to see a doctor.
Preston said he had used Medicross for similar cases for more than a year, but this time the clinic refused to participate.
He believed it was due to Covid-19 fears, despite the Esteem Energy team returning negative tests before leaving Australia.
Medicross did not respond to RNZ’s questions, but practice manager Jamie Litt said: “We follow our approved protocols that are in place to deal with patients in this situation.”
Taranaki DHB Director of Operations Gillian Campbell said she was aware of the injured sailor.
“We have been working with the shipping agent to assess his condition and whether hospital treatment is required, however, no medical evaluation will be conducted in Taranaki as the seaman will be transported to an MIQ facility in Auckland.”
Campbell said the man was now considered part of a crew change, had an approved travel plan to relocate to Auckland and would then return overseas.