Covid-19 Delta outbreak: Record 162 cases ahead of Cabinet decision on alert level changes

The Ministry of Health has reported 162 new community cases of Covid-19 today – a new daily record.

The latest cases come ahead of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s 4pm press conference revealing Cabinet’s alert level decisions for Auckland and Waikato. Both regions are in alert level 3.

There is one new case to report in Northland today, bringing the total number of cases for the region to 13. All of the cases are isolating at home with public health oversight.

Of the other new cases, 156 are in Auckland and five in Waikato.

One more staff member of Edmonton Meadows Care Home in Henderson has tested positive, meaning the total number of staff cases is now two.

The total number of cases related to Edmonton Meadows care home is now 10.

There are no new cases in Christchurch today. However Covid was detected in two wastewater samples collected on Friday, in the southern and eastern part of the city.

“One of these samples is likely the result of a known case living in the catchment area. Investigations are underway to establish any link to known cases for the second sample, including any recovered cases that have recently left MIQ.”

Ninety-two of today’s cases remain unlinked to the current outbreak.

Fifty-three people are in hospital, three of which are in ICU.

Today’s record-setting cases come just two days after the previous record of 160.

There were four additional cases detected at the border.

A person from the Philippines who arrived in Auckland on October 17 tested positive on day 12 and is isolating in Auckland.

Two travellers are isolating in Christchurch – a person who arrived from Russia on October 26 and a person who arrived from Ireland on October 29. Both travelled through Singapore.

Additionally, a person whose full travel history is yet to be determined is isolating in Rotorua, the Ministry of Health says.

Public health interviews continue in Northland to determine new places of interest

Staff on Covid ward test positive

Three staff members on a Covid-19 ward at North Shore Hospital have tested positive for the virus.

A health ministry spokesperson has confirmed that the three workers returned positive tests after Labour Weekend.

The source of the transmission was now being investigated and the hospital had undertaken a precautionary review of its ward systems.

Testing of staff had not revealed any further infections amongst workers.

The spokesperson said all staff working in the Covid-19 ward were double vaccinated, wore appropriate PPE and underwent health screening at the start of every shift.

They also underwent regular surveillance testing.

The first case amongst workers in this latest outbreak was identified through staff surveillance.

“This demonstrates the value of surveillance testing in helping to protect both staff and patients in a hospital environment,” said the spokesperson.

Warning for November case numbers

The public has been warned that things will look worse this month; with Ardern and Covid-19 modellers revealing this morning that community cases are likely to jump up to 200 cases, daily, this month.

Those figures are based on the latest modelling of the virus and its impact on parts of New Zealand at the moment – particularly in Auckland and the Waikato region.

In the last three days, the number of community cases have been in the triple digits – 129 people on Friday, 160 on Saturday and 143 cases yesterday.

Saturday’s figure came as a shock to many and is the highest number of community cases the country has recorded in a single day since the pandemic started.

Cabinet is meeting to discuss those latest projections before an announcement is made about whether or not those in Auckland and Waikato may see a move down in current alert levels.

Covid-19 modeller Professor Shaun Hendy is among experts warning against a move to relax those alert levels or a move down from the current alert level 3 phase one stage.

Hendy told TVNZ’s Breakfast show that we had another “couple of weeks” of community case numbers rising.

“It is quite concerning,” he said.

If the case numbers got up to 200 to 300 cases a day, that would put a lot of strain on the health system in Auckland.

On any potential drop down of alert levels, Hendy said that should not happen – and even said that a circuit breaker at this stage could really bring the number of unlinked community cases down.

“I don’t think we can relax… until we start to see those numbers drop.”

Today’s announcement will come after confirmation of two more positive cases in the Waikato region.

Ōtorohanga mayor Max Baxter said this morning there are two more people with Covid-19 in the town.

The two latest cases were both expected and were linked to people in the existing outbreak that has hit the King Country.

Baxter said they were both isolating.

And he warned there were likely to be more sick people in the community this week.

“I am sure there will be more cases announced in the coming days,” said Baxter.

The new cases are bad news ahead of the Government’s announcement on a potential drop in alert levels.

Meanwhile, two well-known Auckland high schools have been closed today after positive 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.

In East Auckland, Macleans College announced through its 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.

This map shows large vaccinations centres from the Unite again Covid-19 information page. For more detailed information about your neighbourhood visit Healthpoint.

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