There are 11 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today – two of which remain unlinked to the outbreak.
Director of public health Dr Caroline McElnay said officials were now “cautiously optimistic” we were now closing in on the outbreak.
A positive wastewater result was found in East Auckland on Monday – results of a follow-up sample taken on Wednesday are expected in the “coming days”, McElnay said.
Wastewater detections like this do reinforce the importance of testing to err on the side of caution, she said.
Seventy-three per cent of the eligible population has now had at least one dose of the Covid vaccine. The Herald today launched a new campaign to get our vaccination rate up to 90 per cent – a project which Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said he welcomed.
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There are have 9 epidemiologically linked subclusters identified in this outbreak – two are active, 7 are contained and 1 is dormant.
A further 10 sub-clusters are unlinked, 2 are active, 3 contained and 5 dormant.
The case identified at Middlemore Hospital yesterday has not yet been linked to the outbreak.
Where infected truck driver went
The truck driver and a family member who tested positive for Covid-19 have been transferred to MIQ. He visited a number of supermarkets in Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty.
Waikato locations of interest are expected later today, she said.
The driver wore a mask and maintained social distancing while working, McElnay said. The delivery areas are not listed as locations of interest because they are not open to the public. Staff have been notified.
A person in the truck driver’s household was symptomatic and got tested, and so did the truck driver. Both results came back positive. Prior to that, they had been tested before that.
Seven thousand and four hundred people were tested in Auckland yesterday – 1710 taken from suburbs of interest. 9200 tests from those suburbs all together this week.
Around 15,000 tests were processed across the country yesterday.
McElnay said a number of vehicles were turned around at checkpoints overnight for failing to provide evidence at Auckland’s boundary.
Since the start of September, 22,000 essential workers have had asymptomatic testing.
3rd wave of wage subsidy kicks off
The third round of the wage subsidy opened for applications this morning, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said.
More than 480,000 applications for the subsidy have been approved and $2.1bn in payments have been given the green light.
A three-weekly payment has been agreed upon, instead of one payment for businesses. $563m has been paid out to applicants already.
Eighty-five to ninety-five per cent of economic activity is possible under alert level 3, Robertson said. Auckland in lockdown/rest of country in level 2 is costing the country $700m per week.
Transtasman bubble pause
The initial 8-week suspension on the transtasman bubble was due to end next Friday. It has been extended for a further 8 weeks, until mid to late November. People in Australia can take part in MIQ booking system, Robertson said.
A red flight is planned for people in emergency situations. MIQ costs need to be covered by travellers and they need a pre-departure test 72 hours before travel.
Robertson said the Government is not considering a state-by-state approach with re-opening the trans-Tasman bubble.
Robertson said vaccinated-based travel plans are still being worked towards for the first part of next year, but plans might be tweaked.
It has always been the case that people arriving overseas have to stay in MIQ for 14 days and this has not changed, McElnay said.
For cases in New Zealand, their stay has been a minimum of 10 days from the onset of symptoms, including 72 hours of being symptom-free. This continues to be the case for people in Auckland under alert level 4, McElnay said.
Community cases within New Zealand are not subject to the legal framework that recent returnees are, and each case is considered on its own merits by the medical officer of health.
'A massive shock'
Locations of interest are emerging outside of Auckland after the truck driver who tested positive travelled to Tauranga, Cambridge and Hamilton.
A visit to the Tuck Shop eatery, in Cambridge, is now the latest place a person with Covid-19 visited in the community – two days ago on Wednesday.
The positive case was there for just over an hour between 8.50am and 10am.
The Z Hautapu petrol station is linked to a Covid-positive case who was there on Friday, September 10. They were there for two minutes – from 9.40am to 9.42am.
A person with the virus visited the Maramarua General Store on Saturday, September 11, from 1.25pm to 2.40pm.
Ngatea Lotto & Foodmart had a person with Covid come to their shop on Thursday, September 9, between 12.10pm and 2.20pm.
While someone with the virus was at the GAS Paeroa petrol station on the same day between 11.20am and 11.28am.
Another location of interest is the Uppercrust Bakery in Mt Maunganui and a BP petrol station in Tauriko.
Uppercrust Bakery owner John-Paul van der Meys said finding out the store was a location of interest was “a massive shock”.
“We haven’t even recovered from the last lockdown and now we have to stay locked down again for another 14 days,” he said.
New locations continue to spring up in South Auckland as well. Another business in a shopping complex in Clover Park, South Auckland, has been identified as a location of interest.
As of 10am, there were 135 events involving 91 locations.
From today all permitted travellers across the Auckland boundary must show proof they have been tested.
Police have been checking compliance, and those who cannot show proof will be turned back.
A pop-up testing centre at Mobil station on SH1 near Meremere opened today.
Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins announced today that school holidays will not be brought forward in Auckland, despite an outcry from parents who are juggling working from home and supervising online learning.
School holidays in Auckland will start at the same time as the rest of the country, on Saturday, October 2.
Auckland reported 13 new cases yesterday, with one yet to be linked to the outbreak, including another patient who presented to the emergency department at Middlemore Hospital.
They were tested as part of regular surveillance testing and not because they reported any Covid-19 symptoms. Five of yesterday’s cases were infectious in the community and are linked to exposure events.
As of yesterday, there are 10 cases that have not been epidemiologically linked to the community outbreak.
Nineteen people remain in hospitals across Auckland – four are in intensive care units.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is urging everyone to have at least their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of the week.
A number of mobile vaccine buses were launched in Auckland suburbs of interest this week.
Ardern has signalled Auckland would likely move down to level 3 restrictions next Wednesday, though Cabinet would be making its final decision on Monday.
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