Covid-19 Delta outbreak: Record 222 community Covid cases today; another death

There are 222 new community Covid cases today – and another coronavirus-related death has been reported.

Officials said the death was of a patient at Auckland City Hospital.

“The patient, who was in their late-70s, was admitted to hospital on November 11 and subsequently tested positive for Covid-19,” today’s Ministry of Health statement said.

The 222 Covid cases are in Auckland (197), Waikato (20), Northland (1), Wairarapa (2) and Taupō (2).

Nine of the Waikato cases were from Ōtorohanga, seven from Hamilton, one from Te Awamutu, one from Te Kuiti, and two are awaiting confirmation.

The Northland case was initially categorised as Auckland.

All the Taupō cases reported including the two today – one which was first announced yesterday -are linked. Anyone in the region with symptoms is encouraged to get tested.

The two Wairarapa cases are in Masterton and include one announced yesterday.

The Masterton cases were identified through targeted testing after the Taupō case visited the area. More locations of interest are expected to be listed for the Wairarapa.

There are 4416 people isolating at home in Auckland including 2023 people infected with Covid.

Since the outbreak, 21 residents and four staff members at Edmonton Meadows Care Home in Henderson have tested positive. Five of those residents are in hospital.

There are 18 community testing sites set up across Auckland and anyone in Auckland displaying any symptoms at all is being urged by the MoH to get tested and stay at home until they return a negative result.

Hospitalisations

There are 91 people in hospital and seven in ICU.

Of those in hospital, 23 are at North Shore Hospital, 23 at Middlemore, 38 at Auckland, 2 at Waitakere and 3 at Waikato.

A person also remains in a stable condition in Whangārei Hospital.

The average age of people being treated for Covid in hospital is 48.

So far 90 per cent of New Zealanders have had their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and 81 per cent have had both.

Meanwhile, director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says it’s likely New Zealand will reach 200 cases a day by the end of the month.

Bloomfield, who was joined by Professor Nikki Turner and Tamati Shepherd-Wipiiti, GM Equity for the Covid-19 Vaccine Immunisation Programme, said in a briefing earlier today that measures are also in place to try to prevent an estimated 6000 Māori contracting Covid ahead of Christmas.

“We want to do our best to prevent that.”

Bloomfield said the Auckland outbreak continued to track according to modelling, with 200 cases a day anticipated over the coming fortnight.

The current record for a daily case number is 207, which was reported earlier this week.

The way to counter the grim 6000 tally would involve strong public health measures including contact tracing, testing and self-isolating, he said.

Turner said vaccine rollouts for our youngest would happen in the first three months of 2022 if MedSafe and Cabinet gave approval for Pfizer to be used on 5-11 year olds.

There were 173 Covid-19 cases yesterday including a new case in Masterton, Wairarapa.

The Masterton case found to be in the early course of their infection and health officials were carrying out interviews with the person yesterday.

The majority of cases, 163, were in Auckland, while seven were in Waikato, two were in Northland, and one in Lakes district.

There was also a new case in Huntly, however it wasn’t believed to be connected to the detection of Covid in wastewater there recently.

Waikato also had a new case in hospital, while there was one in Whangarei and the remainder in Auckland and Waitakere.

There was another person who tested positive in Rosaria Rest Home in Avondale bringing the total number of residents at the facility who have contracted the virus to four.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also announced Waikato will move to Level 2 at 11.59pm tonight, however that has been greeted with caution by Ōtorohanga Mayor Max Baxter.

“I am just a bit nervous,” he wrote on Facebook. “First vaccination rates for Ōtorohanga are at 80 per cent and second sitting at 68 per cent. Those numbers are significantly lower than the national and Waikato averages.”

Auckland border tipped to ease in mid-December

Aucklanders could be locked in by alert level borders for the next month before travel restrictions are eased in time for Christmas, the Herald understands.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday said a decision on Auckland boundaries will be made tomorrow, a decision that will put the city into the traffic light system very soon after a review of vaccination rates on November 29.

The Herald understands the rest of New Zealand could follow a week to 10 days later, by mid-December, and Auckland’s boundaries would reopen soon after that, also by the middle of next month.

While there would still be some policing of those boundaries, it would be a soft boundary with spot checks, rather than checkpoints where every car is vetted.

But stronger boundaries are still possible for some regions – such as Northland – to check vaccination status or test results if vaccination rates stay low.

Cabinet has agreed to move Waikato to alert level 2 from 11.59 tonight, and the rollout of booster vaccination shots will start from November 29.


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