The latest case numbers and update into Auckland’s Covid-19 situation will be revealed at 1pm.
Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson and director of public health Dr Caroline McElnay will front the update, after 19 new cases were revealed on Thursday and two overnight at Middlemore Hospital.You can watch the press conference live here.
Today’s briefing comes after the Herald revealed that a resident living at the The Grange development in Albany has tested positive for Covid.
The daily number was a drop from 45 the day before, but still a vast increase from the days prior and experts say the Middlemore cases will make any move to level 2 in coming days “very risky”.
The two people tested positive at Middlemore Hospital in Auckland’s south on Wednesday night, with 66 patients now deemed close contacts of the pair.
One of the patients then decided to self-discharge from the hospital after learning of their positive test.
When asked how many people, in total, had turned up to the hospital’s emergency department for unrelated health conditions and then tested positive for Covid, Middlemore Hospital chief medical officer, Pete Watson, didn’t give a figure.
However, he said: “There’s a steady stream.”
The two people from Wednesday arrived at the emergency department separately – and did not know each other nor were they connected in any way.
They were among six Covid-positive people arriving at the hospital that day.
The other four people already knew they had tested positive for the virus and were arriving for planned treatment, Watson said.
Middlemore currently has nine Covid patients admitted.
Covid-19 modeller Professor Michael Plank, meanwhile, told TVNZ’s Breakfast show that there are “concerning signs” it is going to be difficult to keep this current Delta outbreak under control in alert level 3.
“There are worrying signs when you have cases popping up out of the blue and coming into hospital and then testing positive – that it is going to be difficult to contain the outbreak going forward,” he said.
In terms of Auckland moving to alert level 2, Plank said doing so in the current situation – with cases still showing up in the community – could lead to more hospitalisation and ultimately more deaths.
Having cases show up in places and suburbs where you’re not looking for them was worrying, Plank said.
“It could lead to cases growing very rapidly if we moved to level 2,” he said.
“I think it would be extremely risky to move to level 2 at the current time.
“It is a dangerous time.”
Meanwhile, leading microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles has urged Kiwis to get vaccinated, warning that New Zealand could see “high levels of hospitalisations and deaths around Christmas-time” should the country’s case numbers follow the trends in Australia.
Wiles shared a graph by chief science advisor Dame Juliet Gerrard comparing New Zealand’s Delta outbreak to those in New South Wales and Victoria.
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