205 new Covid cases; changes for saliva testing requirements

By Te Ao - Māori News

The Ministry of Health has reported 205 new cases today, a big increase from yesterday's 149 cases.

Of these, 175 of these are in Auckland, 20 in Waikato, four in Northland, five in Bay of Plenty and one in the Lakes region.

There is also a new case in the MidCentral region but this will be added to tomorrow's tally as it missed the cut-off time. This perso, based in Palmerston North, is linked to a previously reported case.

There is also another death of a man in his 40s, who died at Middlemore Hospital. 

For the Bay Of Plenty cases, four are linked to existing cases in Mount Manganui. Investigations are underway into any possible links between the remaining case and any known cases.

The new case in the Lakes region is in Taupō and is a close contact of a known case. 

In Northland, three of the new cases are in Kaikohe and are linked to an existing case. The fourth case is a border worker who has not yet been linked to a known case. Public health officials are today interviewing this case to determine whether they are a community or a border-related case, and to identify any locations of interest.

New case info

The outbreak total is over 7000, with 7,054 cases. Some 103 of today's cases are epidemiologically linked and 102 are unlinked, with investigations underway.

There are now 85 people in hospital; 20 are in North Shore, 22 in Middlemore, 38 in Auckland, one in Whangārei and four in Waikato hospitals (an increase of two hospitalisations on yesterday).

Some 45 of these hospital cases are unvaccinated, nine are partially vaccinated for less than 14 days, six are partially vaccinated past 14 days, one case is fully vaccinated for less than 14 days and 17 cases are fully vaccinated past 14 days. Two cases are unknown. Six people remain in ICU.

Saliva testing changes

The ministry has also updated the position of saliva testing for Covid-19. For surveillance purposes for some groups of workers saliva testing can be reduced from twice weekly to once a week, and there is no need for a follow-up nasopharyngeal swab to confirm a positive saliva test result.

Effective immediately, permitted workers crossing the Alert level boundary who have chosen saliva testing to meet their testing requirements will only need one saliva test within seven days. From December 15 permitted workers will need proof of being fully vaccinated or proof of a test taken no more than seven days prior to crossing the boundary.

Vaccine update

There were 9,851 first and second vaccine doses administered yesterday, made up of 3,079 first doses and 6,772 second doses.

To date, 91% of eligible people in New Zealand have had their first dose and 83% are fully vaccinated.

First doses for Māori is now at 79%, while 64% are fully vaccinated.

Almost all of the South Island DHBs are nearing 90% first dose. Nelson Marlborough is 84 doses away, West Coast needs 937 more doses, and South Canterbury is 132 doses from reaching 90% first doses.