13 new community cases, all to be quarantined

Key facts

  • 13 new cases in the community, all in Auckland
  • All new community cases linked to the initial four cases
  • One new case in managed isolation
  • All new Covid cases now to be quarantined
  • Ardern warns outbreak will "grow before it slows"

There are 13 new community cases in Auckland and director general of health Ashley Bloomfield has announced people who test positive for Covid-19 will be quarantined.

All of the 13 cases are linked to the original four confirmed cases from the new outbreak in South Auckland. The new cases include children. One is a girl aged one to four while the other is a boy between the ages of five and nine. Another girl who tested positive is aged between 10 and 14, while a teenage male (age from 15-19) is among the new cases.

Bloomfield also revealed there was one new case in managed isolation - a woman in her 30s who arrived from the Philippines. 

That brings total number of active cases to 36.

Bloomfield and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern are giving an update on Covid-19's resurgence.

Positive case visited aged care centre

One of the people who've tested positive has visited an aged care facility in the Waikato which Bloomfield said he wouldn't name yet as family members were still being notified.

The visit was when the person wasn't displaying symptoms but they developed symptoms the next day.

All staff and residents in the unit will be tested.

Bloomfield said he didn't think the Waikato needed to move into a higher alert level because it was clear the locus was in Auckland.

He said from last time, 95% of cases happen in workplaces or households - not casual contacts.

Bloomfield said any pertinent information, such as travel updates, would be shared as and when needed not just at the 1pm press conferences.

All cases to be quarantined

Bloomfield announced all of those who tested positive, as well as close family members who could be at risk, would now be put into self-isolation facilities.

Bloomfield said they'd given moving confirmed cases into quarantine facilities "a lot of thought". It would help prevent spread between family members and limit the spread in the community from people coming to visit.

It would "really strengthen our response", he said.

Bloomfield said they were confident there was the capacity for those people and the Health Ministry was working with MBIE to ensure that.

Auckland cases

There are four cases at Americold in Mt Wellington in Auckland. Photo: NZ Herald
There are four cases at Americold in Mt Wellington in Auckland. Photo: NZ Herald

Given all the cases were linked, they were being treated as clusters and Bloomfield said they "fully expected" more cases.

One of the cases is the Mt Albert Grammar School student who is a relative of one of the already confirmed cases.

The student wasn't symptomatic at school so the chance of exposure by anyone in the school community is low, said Bloomfield.

But they should monitor their health and contact Healthline if needed.

Three of the cases are Americold employees and another seven are family members of these employees.

All staff across all sites are being tested.

He said there was no blame on anyone who had caught Covid-19.

"There is no blame or shame in having Covid-19 - the virus is the problem ... people are the solution."

He thanked people for being tested.

It's important to note any positive case is isolated along with their families.

Today's test results reveal the first trends from the push for mass testing, following the re-emergence of community transmission on Tuesday.

Outbreak will 'grow before it slows'

Ardern said the latest numbers showed the "seriousness of the situation" but said it was being dealt with an urgent, calm and methodical way.

She said we know a cluster "grows before it slows" and we should expect to see that happen again

Officials were still tracking down the source of the cluster - known as the index case.

Aucklanders should work from home when they can and only go out for essential items, and should wear a face covering if they do go out for exercise, food or a test.

Aucklanders should work from home when they can and only go out for essential items, and should wear a face covering if they do go out for exercise, food or a test.

If you are well and in good health, Ardern asked for people to "stay put" to not overwhelm testing sites.

For those businesses which can't have people working from home and aren't customer-facing, they should have the appropriate measures in place, said Ardern.

All businesses across New Zealand should put a QR code at their entrances before August 19 to avoid penalties.

There are 10 checkpoints are operating in Auckland and by 7am roughly 17,000 cars were stopped - 312 were turned back. Ardern said police were reporting attempts to travel to their baches.

Ardern acknowledged the anxiety felt by some New Zealanders at the pace of the response, but said the speed should act as some comfort that they were going hard and early.

There will be another 1pm update tomorrow and another after Cabinet meets to decide whether to extend alert levels.

Ardern said "while we're in a heightened state of alert" she believed New Zealanders would understand why the restrictions were in place.

"I think they'll understand and see why that's necessary."

Whether some parts of the country could move back to level 1 is one of the things Cabinet would consider tomorrow, she said.

Ardern said which businesses could be open in Auckland was "exactly, exactly the same" as last time and more information was on the Covid-19 website.

Ardern on Covid conspiracies

Ardern said the conspiracy theories weren't new, particularly that Covid-19 wasn't real, but the global evidence was it was "very, very real".

She urged anyone who didn't trust politicians to listen to independent doctors and scientists for advice.

Where Covid cases who visited Rotorua went

Testing is available for anyone who was in these places at the same time the confirmed cases visited in Rotorua:

• 3.30pm - They checked into the Waioura Hotel
• 8pm - They dined at the Herb and Spice restaurant
• 2.30pm - visited the Pak n Save
• 3.30pm - Heritage Farm
• 4pm - Skyline Gondola and luge
• 8am - made a day trip down to Taupo for a sailing trip and all other visitors and staff will be tested.
• 3pm - returned to Heritage Farm
• Had dinner at Burger Fuel then headed back home.

The Ministry of Health utilised the alert function on the Covid Tracer app for the first time to alert people who were recorded as being in the same location as the confirmed cases on their trip to Rotorua.

There have been about 986,000 downloads of the Covid Tracer app - which is up 338,000 in the last 48 hours.

They are speaking from the Beehive. It follows the Herald revealing three more cases at an Auckland coolstore linked to the outbreak.

Bloomfield confirmed this morning a Mt Albert Grammar student in Auckland had tested positive - a person who was a close contact of the family whose members have tested positive.

He did not know if the student was one of the four probable cases announced yesterday.

He said some of the original family who had tested positive were in a quarantine facility but not all of them.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media during a press conference at Parliament yesterday....
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media during a press conference at Parliament yesterday. Photo: Getty Images
Cabinet ministers will meet tomorrow to decide whether Auckland might be eased into alert level 2, stay at level 3, or moved to full lockdown.

Tomorrow's Cabinet decision on the future of the lockdown will depend on factors including the extent of the new Covid-19 outbreak, the containment of known chains of transmission, and whether the source of infection has been found.

Bloomfield would not say this morning how he thought the decision would go.

"We are getting all our information together so we can get the best possible advice. I feel confident we will have a lot more good information to inform a good decision," he told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking.

Meanwhile, the Lakes District Health Board has released further information about where two people who tested positive for Covid-19 visited while in Rotorua, including the Fat Dog cafe on Sunday, August 9 between 1.30pm and 2.30pm and Burger Fuel Redwoods on August 10 between 7pm and 8pm.

 

Comments

NZ's economic destruction virtually assured if lockdowns continue. Conjuring another $40b out of thin air will not stop it. Maybe Sweden's approach was correct for a virus that can not be stopped, only delayed.

Perhaps then a quarantine facility should be used in (say) Wellington to quarantine people wanting to cross Cook Straight and let the South Island get about their business.

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