Covid-19 Delta outbreak: Macleans College students told to stay home after staff member tests positive; 143 new cases -135 in Auckland, none in Christchurch

Two Auckland colleges are closed today after Covid cases were discovered.

Mt Albert Grammar School told parents last night that a student has tested positive for the virus. The student had attended classes between Tuesday and Thursday last week.

Year 11-13 students will resume online learning from today.

Meanwhile senior students at an East Auckland school will not return to the classroom today after a support staff member tested positive for Covid-19.

Macleans College announced through their school website that a staff member had tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday but had not been in contact with students.

However, senior students will return to online learning today and Tuesday while staff members get tested.

The school has said Year 11 students will return tomorrow while NCEA students will complete their practice exams online, from home, tomorrow. Junior students are remaining at home until further notice.

Meanwhile, the number of daily Covid cases remained high on Sunday – well into triple figures – but there was relief in level-2 South Island, with no new reported cases in Christchurch.

There were 143 new community cases yesterday – 135 in Auckland, six in Waikato, and two in Northland.More than half of the new cases – 73 – are unlinked to existing cases and are under investigation. The 143 cases followed 160 on Saturday – meaning 303 cases announced over the weekend.

The details of the new cases come as more than 42,000 vaccinations were administered on Saturday, meaning 75 per cent of eligible Kiwis are now double-vaccinated. That number is even higher in Auckland – the epicentre of the Delta outbreak – with 80 per cent of the population now double-vaccinated.

Within Auckland itself, the Counties-Manukau DHB region sits on an 89 per cent first-vaccination rate and needing just another 5354 first jabs to hit the magic 90 per cent mark. That should happen this week.

Expert predictions have Auckland’s three DHB areas hitting a 90 per cent second-vaccination rate by the first week of December at the latest – the trigger for the new traffic light system and more freedoms.

More people are in hospital with Covid today. The Ministry of Health said 56 people were hospitalised with the virus, up from 47 on Saturday. The average age of people in hospital is 47.

Two people are in intensive care or high dependency units.

There has also been an unexpected wastewater result detected in Huntly.

Sunday’s new cases bring the total in the current Delta variant community outbreak to 3348.

Nationwide, almost 30,000 tests were carried out in the 24 hours to 10am and in Auckland, slightly more than 8000 tests were processed in the last 24 hours.

Auckland care home

In Auckland, no new cases have emerged at West Auckland’s Edmonton Meadows rest home, following nine infections – eight residents and one staff member.

Two residents from the Henderson care facility who tested positive for Covid have been taken to hospital for care.

The staff member who tested positive has been stood down.

People can visit the Henderson facility on compassionate grounds only, and in line with level 3 protocols.

The 1pm Sunday statement, delivered in the absence of a Beehive press conference, also highlighted attention on seven Auckland suburbs.

“Public health staff are asking people in the suburbs of Redvale, Rosedale, New Lynn, Wiri, Drury, Henderson and Manurewa with symptoms to get tested, no matter how mild their symptoms may be.”

The same advice applied to vaccinated people.

Christchurch update

No new cases were reported in Christchurch on Sunday, and one case previously deemed a local case has been reclassified as a historical case following serology results.

The Ministry of Health said the total Christchurch tally was now four.

“Because of the recently reported cases in Canterbury, it is important that anyone, especially those in Christchurch, with any symptoms, no matter how mild, please get tested,” the ministry said in a statement this afternoon.

“Those people in Canterbury are also reminded to get vaccinated today if they have not already.”

More than 9000 vaccine doses were administered in Canterburyon Saturday. That included 6600 second doses.

More than 90 per cent of the region’s eligible population has now had their first dose.

The four household contacts of the person who was reported as testing positive for Covid in Tonga on Saturday have been traced, are in isolation and have returned an initial negative result.Two close contacts are in isolation at home in Christchurch and two in Porirua.

Anyone with symptoms is asked to get tested and reminded to get vaccinated if they have not already.

Waikato update

There are six new cases in Waikato – two from Hamilton, one from Ōtorohanga, two from the Te Awamutu/Kihikihi area, one from Kawhia.

Five of these seven cases are linked to earlier positive test results, but one was so far unlinked.

All six people are in isolation with public health oversight, the ministry said.

A pop-up testing site has been established at Te Kuiti Hospital, after five new Waikato locations of interest were announced earlier on Sunday.

The locations are Four Square shops in Fairfield and Hillcrest, the J Swap Osterns Quarry in Ōtorohanga and Ōtorohanga Mini Mart.

The relevant times are Monday at 2.20pm for the Hillcrest shop, Monday at 2.30pm for the Fairfield shop, and Wednesday at 9am for the Fairfield shop again.

The Ōtorohanga quarry was visited in Tuesday at 10.45am for 45 minutes, and the Mini Mart last Sunday at 11am to noon.

Huntly wastewater surprise

Because of the surprise Huntly wastewater detection, a pop-up testing site will be set up in the north Waikato town on Monday morning.

Local residents of Huntly who have symptoms were urged to get tested, no matter how mild the symptoms may be.

Elsewhere in the district, one person with Covid-19 arrived at Waikato Hospital on Saturday. An earlier hospitalised patient was discharged on Sunday to isolate at home.

There were 2240 tests processed throughout Waikato yesterday and 3725 vaccinations were given.

Northland update

All 12 confirmed Covid community cases in Northland are isolating at home.

The ministry said seven new locations of interest have been identified this weekend in Mangawhai, Kaiwaka and Whangārei. Details of these locations did not immediately appear to be available.

Health officials are interviewing people who tested positive, and the ministry said more new locations of interest could be added in Northland later on Sunday.

Testing for Covid-19 in Northland was available on Sunday until 4pm at 20 Winger Crescent in Whangārei , and Three Furlongs bar and grill in Kaiwaka.

Sunday’s new positive results mean 3,348 cases have been recorded so far in the Delta community outbreak.

Since the pandemic arrived in New Zealand last year, 6,068 positive test results have been recorded.

Dr Lesley Gray, a University of Otago senior health care lecturer, said yesterday the true number of Covid-19 cases could be much higher.

Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker last week said some vaccinated, young and healthy people with Covid-19 could have very mild symptoms or no symptoms.

It was plausible to believe many of these people were not getting tested, he said.

He also predicted the evolution of a new Delta variant, shortly before the announcement of a new “Delta plus” strain found in a New South Wales hotel quarantine case.

With daily infection numbers in the New Zealand Delta outbreak roughly doubling every two weeks, Baker said Auckland’s health system was facing a huge challenge.

Meanwhile, about 5000 people gathered at Auckland Domain on Saturday in breach of level 3 restrictions and disrupted traffic in a march to Newmarket.

Superintendent Shanan Gray said police expected to prosecute people involved in the protest.

“We recognise that individuals have a lawful right to protest. However, this should not be at the expense of restrictions designed to keep our community safe,” Gray said.

“The health risk posed to attendees as well as other road users was unnecessary and unacceptable.”

In response to concerns about the health system facing enormous pressure, the Government on Sunday said it secured access to a new Covid-19 drug called Ronapreve.

The drug could help treat people with treat people with medium-to-severe symptoms.

Health Minister Andrew Little said the current outbreak grew so quickly, it forced the Government to bring forward home isolation plans by two months.

Little told TVNZ’s Q+A programme a surge in Covid-19 infections, especially among unvaccinated people, could jeopardise the health system.

“It means people who have planned care, planned surgeries, they get bumped out of the system and hospitals have to reprioritise,” Little said.

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