172 new Covid cases; antigen testing available for businesses

By Te Ao - Māori News

The Ministry of Health has reported 172 new Covid cases in the community today.

Some 142 of these are in Auckland, 15 in Waikato, one in the Bay of Plenty, two in the Lakes region, one in MidCentral and 10 in Nelson-Marlborough (one announced today missed the ministry's cut off time and will be added tomorrow). 

The outbreak total is now 8,745.

In Northland, one case is in Kaitaia and the other in Kawakawa. Both are close contacts of known cases. The Kaitaia case was in isolation when tested and investigations into the Kawakawa case are underway.

In Waikato, six cases are in Kawhia, three are in Te Kūiti, two are in Hamilton, two are in Ngāruawāhia, one in Huntly and one is under investigation. 

The new case in the Bay of Plenty is a household contact of a previously reported case and was already self-isolating at home when they tested positive. The ministry says there are no more new cases associated with Te Akau ki Papamoa School yet but the assessment by Toi Te Ora Public Health is that further cases associated with the school are likely.

In the Lakes District, one case is in Rotorua and is a household contact of a previously reported case. They were already self-isolating at home when they tested positive. Investigations are underway to determine any links between the other new case and previously reported cases.

In Nelson-Tasman, the number of active cases in the region to 14. These cases are made up of two clusters, with 11 in one and three in the other. A possible connection between the two clusters is being investigated.

Two schools in Nelson, Enner Glynn School and Broadgreen Intermediate, have had cases. Both schools have temporarily closed while a risk assessment is undertaken and close contacts are identified. Next steps will then be agreed with the Ministry of Education.

Of today's cases, 55 are linked and 117 are yet to be linked, with investigations underway.

In recovered cases, Northland has had 60 people of its 85, 2,317 of Auckland's 8,037, 210 of Waikato's 4765, four of Lakes' 28, three of MidCentral's six, one of Wairarapa's three, 17 of Wellington's 18, one of Nelson/Marlborough's 14 and five of Canterbury's nine.

There are now 86 people in hospital with Covid-19, including eight still being assessed. By hospitals, 14 are in North Shore, 41 are in Auckland, 28 are in Middlemore, two in Waikato and one in Bay of Plenty. Nine people are in intensive care, with three in Auckland, three in Middlemore, one in North Shore and two in Waikato hospitals. The average age of current hospitalisations is 45 years old. 

Antigen tests ready

The ministry says all businesses may now access Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) from New Zealand distributors.

RATs can provide a result in 15 minutes but require a high viral load, so are more effective in the early stages of an individual’s infectious period. For asymptomatic surveillance testing, two or three times a week is recommended.

The ministry says it still recommends getting a PCR test if someone has Covid-19 symptoms.

The ministry says it will have 3.8 million tests in stock by the end of this week, and will also work with the pharmacy sector to have RATs available under supervised testing for the community by mid-December.