It’s been the deadliest week of the outbreak so far with five people losing their lives to Covid-19 as New Zealand enters its fourth month in a grip of a pandemic now spilling into centres across the North Island.
There are 172 new Covid-19 cases in the community today, according to the Ministry of Health – of those cases, 148 are in Auckland, 12 in Waikato, four in Northland, three in Bay of Plenty, four in Lakes and one in Wellington. There are currently 70 people in hospital with Covid-19, with five people in ICU.
Concern is growing about the creep of new Covid-19 cases which now not only span the length of the North Island, but continue to appear in Canterbury.
The ministry said a case announced yesterday in Wellington is today being confirmed, following a repeat swab returning a second positive result. The case was picked up as part of routine surveillance testing and is an essential worker from Auckland working in the city.
Investigations have identified a small number of close contacts, including the person’s co-workers, who are currently isolating and being tested. All results from have come back negative so far.
The ministry is urging anyone in Wellington with Covid-19 symptoms to get tested, even those who are vaccinated.
There are three new cases in the Bay of Plenty – two are in Tauranga and one is Mount Maunganui which is connected to an existing case, the ministry said.
Staff have been stood down at Tauranga Hospital after a person who tested positive turned up for treatment a the Emergency Department late last night.
Public health officials deem the risk from last night’s exposure event at Tauranga Hospital is low but are today carrying out further evaluations. One ward has been closed to both visitors and new patients out of an abundance of caution. Three staff members have been stood down as a precaution.
Of Northland’s four new cases today, one is in Kaitaia, one in Ruakākā and one in Dargaville. The fourth resides in Auckland and is isolating there.
All three of the cases based in the Northland region are close contacts of existing cases and were already in isolation.
Two of the new cases in the Lakes DHB area are connected to the Taupō cluster, one of which is in Rotorua Hospital. There are also two new cases in Rotorua. One is linked to an existing case and investigations into the other case are ongoing but potential links have already been identified.
There are 2459 Aucklanders with Covid-19 self-isolating at home. Including household contacts, public health staff are supporting 5430 people self-isolating across Auckland.
Regarding Auckland’s Edmonton Meadows Care Home in Henderson, 21 residents and five staff have tested positive for the virus. Three of the residents are in hospital receiving care
At the three-month mark infections in the community have now surpassed 6500 with Māori making up nearly half of all cases.
Yesterday there were nine fewer people needing hospital-level care with 76 being treated in hospitals across Auckland, Whangārei and Waikato with six people in ICU or High Dependency Units.
Since Covid was first detected in New Zealand there have been 38 deaths.This week five people lost their lives.
On Saturday a woman in her 90s who had resided at the Edmonton Meadows Care Home in West Auckland died in North Shore Hospital.
In announcing her death health officials said underlying health conditions and the state of her health meant it was not clinically appropriate for her to receive ventilator or ICU care.
She had been admitted to hospital on November 6 from the rest home where an outbreak has seen 25 cases of Covid-19 in staff and residents. She had tested positive for Covid before going to hospital.
The week’s second death came on Tuesday with a man in his late 70s dying in Auckland City Hospital.
He had been admitted to hospital on November 11 and subsequently tested positive for Covid.
On Wednesday health officials announced a man in his 60s had died on Tuesday at North Shore Hospital. The ministry said the man was admitted to hospital on November 4 with Covid symptoms and subsequently tested positive.
Then on Thursday a second Edmonton Meadows Care Home resident, a man in his 90s, died in North Shore Hospital and a woman in her 80s died at Middlemore Hospital.
But there has been a moment of celebration in the past 24 hours as the race to vaccinate ahead of the virus spreading achieved a milestone, when the first district health board area in the city at the centre of the outbreak reached 90 per cent fully vaccinated.
Residents of Auckland DHB join Queenstown-Lakes, Selwyn District in Canterbury and Wellington in the 90 per cent fully-vaxxed club.
The city, which has been level 3 or 4 for 95 days, has two other DHBs – Waitematā and Counties Manukau, at 87 per cent and 84 per cent double-dosed respectively.
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