Record day for Māori vaccinations; Covid cases hit 44

By Will Trafford

Today saw 44 new cases of Covid-19 in the community, 41 are in Auckland with three in the Waikato.

The surge comes amid what the Ministry of Health is praising as the highest ever daily vaccinations of Māori.

The Ministry says investigations are underway to establish links to 12 mystery cases while 32 of today’s cases are traceable.

Public Health director Dr Caroline McElnay said while the numbers were elevated from recent days, it was not entirely unexpected.

“There have been a number of contacts of new cases and we can expect to get fluctuations from day to day,” she said.

McElnay says 29,925 tests were processed nationwide yesterday.

“It is more important than ever that we keep testing, especially over the weekend. The Ministry of Health urges anyone who has symptoms, no matter how mild, to please get tested.”  McElnay said.

Of the three new cases in Waikato, all are linked and contacts of existing cases. Interviews are continuing to determine any further contacts or locations of interest.   

A total of 5,180 swabs were taken in the Waikato yesterday and there are seven pop up testing sites operating today with extended hours to cater for demand.

Testing is being conducted at Claudelands, Te Rapa, Karapiro, Raglan, Huntly, Kawhia and Tokoroa and the existing testing centre at Founders Theatre is also open.

Officials provided additional details on the case announced last night of an Aucklander that travelled to Northland saying the person has been transferred to an Auckland quarantine facility.

“Public health staff are continuing investigations to identify whether there are any locations of interest or exposure events associated with the case,” they said.

Northland locations of interest will be added to the Ministry of Health website in due course.

Four testing centres are operating in Northland. These are at Kaitaia Hospital; 1 Sammaree Place in Kerikeri, Dargaville Hospital; 20 Winger Crescent in Kamo; and Pohe Island in Whangarei.

The Ministry of Health cautioned of another possible exposure event at Middlemore Hospital.

On Monday, October 4, a patient presented to the Emergency Department for a non-Covid-19 related issue. The person answered no to all screening questions, was asymptomatic and was discharged.

The patient who returned on Thursday, October 7 was isolated but then returned a positive result.

The ministry says the person could have been contagious on Monday so 42 patients and 18 visitors have been identified as contacts.

McElnay said New Zealand had one of its highest numbers of vaccination yesterday with the largest number of second doses ever administered.

“Our total doses administered of 82,303 ranks in the top-10 highest daily totals since the programme began and is the highest daily figure since  September 3," she said.

It was a record day for Māori vaccinations yesterday, with 10,145 doses administered.

“I want to acknowledge the efforts of Māori providers and communities to support people to access vaccination. “ McElnay said.