In today’s Covid-19 updates, a second self-isolating person at home died, two people attempted to escape MIQ facilities, a positive sewage sample was confirmed in Taranaki, and Pharmac obtained a new drug to treat Covid. -19.
At this afternoon’s Covid press conference, 163 new community cases were reported. Public Health Director Dr. Caroline McElnay said St John attended a call this morning after an emergency call to an address in the suburb of Mount Eden and found a deceased person upon arrival.
The man who died was in his fifties and had recently been treated at the hospital but had been discharged on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said.
He said there had been telephone contact with the man on Wednesday and Thursday.
Robertson said he continued to rely on the self-isolation system.
“It is important to note that there are still investigations into the cause of death at this time and we have to make sure we allow that to happen,” he said.
Two MIQ escape attempts
There were two separate attempts to escape the MIQ facility by people with Covid-19: one in Auckland last night and one in Hamilton this morning.
Both were captured within five minutes of the escape.
In the Hamilton incident, a person with Covid-19 fled the Amohia Community Isolation Quarantine facility in Hamilton by removing a section of perimeter fence around 11:45 a.m. today.
They were watched by MIQ security, who saw them get into a waiting car. They were soon detained a short distance away by the police and are now in custody.
In the second incident in Auckland last night, a positive community case was transporting to the Holiday Inn Managed Isolation facility around 5pm when they fled on foot through the open door.
They were soon stopped by the police about 100 meters away and were immediately returned to the premises.
Positive sewage detections in Taranaki, Tairāwhiti and Napier
Earlier tonight, the Tairāwhiti DHB confirmed that the sewage samples at Gisborne and Napier tested positive for Covid-19.
Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stolz told Checkpoint that the tests were from Monday and Wednesday.
She said the results could be from people who have recently returned from MIQ. She is urging everyone in the region with flu-like symptoms to get tested immediately.
“And also, get vaccinated.”
There was also a positive Covid-19 sewage detection in Stratford that was confirmed today by the Health Ministry, but has not yet been linked to a known case.
Taranaki Medical Health Officer Dr. Jonathan Jarman said the strong positive test result meant it was highly likely that there was at least one active case in the area.
He said the region’s DHB was informed of the result Thursday night, while the detection was taken on Monday.
The Health Ministry said follow-up samples will be taken throughout the region in the coming days.
Meanwhile, people in Taranaki are being asked to get tested if they have any Covid symptoms, no matter how mild.
Currently, 68 percent of the eligible population in Taranaki is fully vaccinated and 85 percent have received their first dose.
The mayor of Stratford said Control Apathy is the key reason behind Taranaki’s low Covid vaccination rate.
“Not bad, but there’s a long way to go with those second doses,” Neil Volzke said.
“More than anything, I directly attribute it to apathy. The region has been Covid-free for quite some time and I don’t think people realize this could happen right here on their doorstep. Now it has. I am sure there will be a change in attitude and we will gain greater acceptance of vaccination. “
Volzke said that around 200 people in Stratford were tested for Covid today.
Pharmac secures a new drug for the treatment of Covid-19
Pharmac has obtained a fifth drug that can be used to treat people with Covid-19 symptoms.
Five hundred doses of baricitinib will arrive this month, joining a series of treatments available for sick patients.
Pharmac CEO Sarah Fitt said that “Clinical trials have shown that baricitinib can help hospitalized patients with Covid-19, reducing the severity of symptoms and time in hospital, and increasing survival.”
Baricitinib, an oral tablet, is not currently approved by Medsafe for use in treating Covid-19, Pharmac said.
However, doctors will be able to use it directly under the Medicines Act.