129 cases as PM unveils road map out of lockdown

There are a record 129 Covid-19 new cases in the community today.

Of the cases 64 cases have been epidemiologically linked. Nine of the cases are in the Waikato with 120 in Auckland.

It comes New Zealand will move into the system to manage Covid-19 when District Health Boards have 90 per cent of their eligible populations vaccinated.

There are 2389 cases in the current community outbreak. Today's new cases have brought the total number Covid-19 cases in New Zealand since the pandemic began over the 5000 mark totalling 5090.

Twelve of Waikato's 73 cases have recovered. In Auckland, 1366 cases of 2299 have recovered.

More than 6.5 million doses of the vaccine have been administered as of yesterday. Of these, 3.6 million were first doses and 2.9 million were second doses.

Yesterday there were 41,294 doses administered, 10,066 first doses and 31,228 second doses.

There are now 51 people in hospital with Covid-19, five are in ICU or HDU. 

The traffic light system will use vaccine certificates to allow complying businesses to continue to operate at all times - it should also end nationwide lockdowns, although the Government retains the right to use smaller, localised lockdowns.

The previous record daily high of 102 new community cases were detected yesterday.

Case numbers have now been hopping around in recent days, with 94 cases on Tuesday - but experts are tipping numbers to continue to grow.

Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield yesterday 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.

There are still about 150,000 eligible people in Auckland - and 616,000 eligible people nationwide - who are yet to get a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Ninety-four of yesterday's cases are in Auckland and eight are in Waikato, Bloomfield said.

Deputy PM Grant Robertson said "undoubtedly" there will be more cases emerging in Waikato.

Unlinked 'mystery cases'

Forty of yesterday's 102 cases are not linked to the outbreak, while 30 are household contacts. Twenty of Wednesday's cases also remain unlinked.

Bloomfield said a growing number of unlinked cases is to be expected, and the most important information is to find their contacts.

Bloomfield said finding cases and high rates of testing is key. Using modelling of Auckland, officials have a sense they are finding most of the cases, he said.

"It's becoming increasingly clear that Covid is a disease amongst the unvaccinated."

New UK data shows of 40,000 patients hospitalised 84 per cent were not vaccinated. In New Zealand only three people that were hospitalised were vaccinated, he said.

Bloomfield reminded anyone with symptoms in New Lynn and North Shore suburbs to get tested as soon as possible, but anywhere in Auckland as well he said.

Traveller to Hawke's Bay

One of yesterday's cases in Waikato had an exemption to travel to Napier last Friday and returned a positive test once they returned to Waikato. They were infectious in Hawke's Bay - two close contacts there have returned negative tests. The Waikato case is isolating at home. There were no new cases in Hawke's Bay, Bloomfield said.

The Ministry of Health updated guidance for allied health professionals is that they can provide services in alert level 3 - which means roughly 2000 professionals, such as physiotherapists, in Auckland alone, can see patients face to face.

Patients will be screened, he said.

Robertson said officials have been planning for the health system to cope with rising cases, such as sharing workforce around the country. Today six people are in ICU and those rates are keeping steady and not an issue right now.

Robertson also urged Aucklanders to stick to the rules over this coming long weekend.

Public health officials in the Waikato are continuing to investigate a local case who travelled to Hawke’s Bay before returning a positive Covid-19 result.

One location of interest, Kmart Napier, has been identified and anyone there between 3.53pm – 5.13 pm on Friday 15 October is asked to monitor their symptoms for 14 days and if any develop, get tested and stay at home until a negative test result is received and they have been symptom-free for 24 hours.

No further locations of interest in Hawke’s Bay have been identified but locals are asked to please keep checking the Ministry of Health’s website.

There have been no positive detections for Covid-19 in the most recent wastewater samples collected from Hastings (19 and 20 October), Napier (18 and 20 October), and Wairoa (15 and 19 October). Further samples from these sites will be collected next week.

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