Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Todays case numbers as Kiwis debate traffic light system

Kiwis are set to find out how many new Covid cases are in the community on a day when the virus has been found in the South Island and debate continues over the Government’s new traffic light system.

The new South Island case has been detected in Blenheim, with the person – who flew from Rotorua – now isolating.

PM Jacinda Ardern yesterday also revealed New Zealand will move into a new way of managing Covid-19 when District Health Boards have 90 per cent of their eligible populations vaccinated.

The traffic light system will use vaccine certificates to allow complying businesses to continue to operate at all times – and proposes to end nationwide lockdowns, despite the Government retaining the right to use smaller, localised lockdowns.

Some argue freedoms for lockdowned Aucklanders can’t come soon enough, while some medical specialists expect intensive care units in the nation’s hospitals to be overwhelmed as case numbers go up.

It comes as the number of new Covid cases in the community has hit record highs in each of the last two days and two new cases were confirmed in Northland.

That included 129 new Covid community cases yesterday – 120 of which were in Auckland and nine in Waikato.

Officials said 64 of the cases had already been linked and included 25 household contacts.

However, 65 or just over half remain unlinked as of yesterday morning, with investigations continuing to link them back to existing cases, the Ministry of Health said.

Yesterday’s cases also followed on from a then-record daily high of 102 new cases on Thursday.

Prior to Thursday, case numbers had been hopping around earlier in the week between lower and higher numbers, but experts are now tipping numbers to continue to grow.

It meant that as of yesterday, 51 people are in hospital with Covid, including eight in North Shore, 18 in Middlemore, 24 in Auckland and one in Waikato.

Five are in intensive care.

In Auckland, the virus was now widely dispersed, health officials said.

So health teams are focusing testing on areas with higher positive test rates and where the risk of unidentified cases is higher, the ministry said.

One suburb of interest with a high positivity rate of more than 7 per cent is Redvale, on the North Shore.

However, at this stage, no recorded cases in Redvale have been linked to last weekend’s well-reported party.

Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield earlier this week said case numbers are doubling every 10 to 12 days. He said the key point was how many of those people who caught Covid-19 were vaccinated.

Only 1.7 per cent of people hospitalised in the Delta outbreak have been vaccinated.

Auckland was just 16,000 first doses away from having 90 per cent of its eligible population having received at least one jab, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said yesterday.

The city could move out of its level 3 setting when all of its three DHBs hit a 90 per cent double dose target, forecast to occur by early December on current trends.

However, the hard boundary surrounding the city and preventing Aucklanders from travelling to other parts of the country would remain as long as any of the nation’s other DHBs were below 90 per cent double dosed.

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