More details to be revealed on two mystery clusters

The Ministry of Health says it plans to reveal more details about two mystery clusters of Covid-19 cases in Auckland.

A cluster at an unnamed Auckland workplace has now grown to 25 people, and another which is related to an event in Auckland has 20 confirmed cases.

Both of them are considered "active", which means that the infection has not been contained.

The ministry, DHBs, and public health officials have until now declined to divulge more information about the Auckland clusters, citing privacy grounds.

Up until last week, specific information about clusters including their exact location was published online.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today that approach changed because of a privacy breach by the ministry.

In that case, the ministry publicly identified two people in the Hutt Valley who had contracted coronavirus. It apologised over the blunder, in which the clusters were named after the victims on the ministry's website.

Bloomfield said more details would now be provided on the newer clusters, though it was not clear whether that would cover their exact location, if they involved overseas transmission, or when the first case was identified.

The ministry was trying to be as open as possible with information about the Covid-19 outbreak, Bloomfield said.

The clusters are now contributing to more than half of the new positive cases around New Zealand. Of the 50 new cases confirmed today, 26 cases were related to 12 existing clusters.

The largest cluster, which originated at Marist College in Mt Albert, is now linked to 84 positive cases, with seven more cases confirmed in the last day.

A cluster related to a wedding in Bluff has grown to 81 cases, up four from yesterday. And a cluster in Matamata grew by 3 cases to 62.

Bloomfield said today that he had asked ministry staff to talk to health professionals looking after each cluster, and to test people without symptoms to make sure those clusters were being properly "ring-fenced".

That came after a person linked to Marist College was not initially tested despite symptoms.

Bloomfield said the person was eventually classified as a probable case and the person was right to persist with trying to be tested.

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