New Covid-19 death; 39 new community cases

By Te Ao - Māori News

Public health director Dr Caroline McElnay today reported a patient with Covid-19 has died in Middlemore Hospital, Auckland.

Further details will be available today after discussions with the patient's family. 

This comes as 39 new cases were reported today, with 30 are in Auckland, and nine in Waikato. The total in Waikato is now 18, and the total in the outbreak is 1,420.

This includes one previously reported Waikato case that has been reclassified from recovered to active. The recently reported Upper Hauraki case is now included in the Auckland figures. There is one further case, a border worker, which is yet to be classified as community or border-related.

All but one of today's cases is epidemiologically linked. The lone case is being investigated to determine a link.

Of yesterday's 24 cases, 19 have had exposure events. The remaining five were isolating during their infectious period.

There are 32 people in hospital. Two people are in North Shore, 15 in Middlemore, 14 in Auckland and one in Waikato. Seven people are in intensive care or high-dependency units.

There are two new cases at the border and both are in managed isolation. 

Waikato ED exposure

A patient who visited the Emergency Department at Waikato Hospital last Friday night has now tested positive for Covid-19.

The asymptomatic patient was screened when they entered the department by staff, who were following Alert Level 2 Infection, Prevention and Control protocols.

The district health board has temporarily stood down a number of ED staff who are self-isolating.

Results from rapid PCR tests are expected today.

There are five popup testing sites operating in Hamilton, Raglan, Huntly and Tokoroa, with all five open for extended hours to cater to any lift in demand.

The DHB is setting up a testing site at Karapiro, following the positive case there. An existing testing provider in Kawhia has been expanded. More details on exact locations and hours are available on the Healthpoint and Waikato DHB sites.

Gap between doses closes

In response to the continuing outbreak, the Ministry of Health is advising New Zealanders to consider a shorter gap between doses of the Pfizer vaccine than the current standard of six weeks.

It says reducing the gap between doses to three weeks means more people can be vaccinated sooner and increase community immunity. 

In August the standard gap between first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine was extended from three weeks to six weeks to allow New Zealand to give one dose (partial protection) to a larger number of people faster.

Since that time the Delta outbreak has increased the risk of contracting Covid-19 for everyone in New Zealand and increased the urgency for people to be vaccinated as soon as possible.

Auckland suburbs of interest 

The ministry wants people in the following suburbs to get tested: Clover Park, Mângere,   Favona,   Manurewa, Mount Wellington/Sylvia Park, Henderson, Papakura and Red Beach