Wellington Covid 19 cases grow to eight, quarantine facilities being scaled up

The Ministry of Health has announced two more cases of Covid-19 in the community in Wellington, bringing the total number in the capital to eight.

Overall there were 35 new cases of Covid-19 announced today. The number of cases in the Delta outbreak now sits at 107.

Cabinet is meeting to discuss any changes in alert levels and whether parts of the country can relax lockdown settings. The decision will be announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at 4pm.

Joint head of managed isolation and quarantine, Brigadier Rose King, told the Herald that the Grand Mercure in Wellington has now been designated as a quarantine facility only.

Previously it was being used as a dual facility, meaning it had both managed isolation facilities and one wing of eight quarantine rooms.

“Due to the current outbreak, a decision has been made to designate it entirely as a quarantine facility.

“This has recently increased the total quarantine capacity in Wellington from eight to 38 rooms.”

King said further work was underway to increase the number of quarantine rooms available at the Grand Mercure, while ensuring strict infection prevention control protocols can be provided.

Wellington’s other MIQ facility, the Bay Plaza, was empty and awaiting its next cohort of returnees, King said.

But the facility will now be used to accommodate close contacts of community cases if needed.

More than 3850 tests were processed yesterday in Wellington and the Hutt Valley. Over the weekend, 11 community testing centres were operating as well as about 32 GPs.

More wastewater samples are being collected today from sites across New Zealand.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Health reported Covid-19 had continued to be detected at Moa Point in Wellington.

However, samples taken from Porirua, Seaview and Karori were all negative.

There are now more than 280 locations of interest across the North Island.

Of these, 11 locations of interest are in Wellington. There are also two flights between Auckland and Wellington.

New locations of interest will be posted on the Ministry of Health’s website regularly.

There are five vaccination centres in Lower Hutt. They are on High St, in Epuni, Wainuiomata, Boulcott and Waiwhetū.

More than 300 vaccinations were performed in Waiwhetū yesterday alone.

Hutt City Council said it was working to fix a pothole that was limiting traffic at one of the sites, which should be completed by the end of the day.

Meanwhile, Capital and Coast DHB said it was working to increase its vaccination capacity with extended days and hours.

At Sunday’s 1pm press conference, director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said several new cases of Covid-19were linked to a service at the Samoan Assembly of God church in Māngere on August 15. This was emerging as a cluster within the outbreak, he said.

Pacific community members were very good at helping drive up test numbers, he said, and there were a number of cases including three cases in Wellington who had been at the church service.

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