Fewest new cases since day 2

The South yesterday recorded its lowest number of new cases of Covid-19 since day 2 of the lockdown.

Dave Cull
Dave Cull. Photo: ODT files

And despite the South reaching 195 total cases - 26 more cases than the next hardest-hit region, Waitemata, with 169 — the eight new cases in the South marked just the third time the daily increase was not a double-digit increase in new cases since the Alert Level 4 lockdown restrictions came into effect on March 26.

On day 14, as 50 new cases were recorded nationally, bringing New Zealand’s total to 1210, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had "cautious optimism" the lockdown was working — and Southern District Health Board chairman Dave Cull yesterday said he shared her view at a local level.

"Southern has had the highest per capita rate of positive cases of any DHB region," Mr Cull said.

"In response Public Health South has conducted an exhaustive contact tracing and testing regime. If that has identified a high proportion of any cases in the community, it augurs well for the region. So, yes, I am cautiously optimistic, too."

Five of yesterday’s new cases were in Queenstown, bringing the Queenstown-Lakes district to 73 cases — 25 more than Dunedin (48), which increased by two cases.

Invercargill remained at 40 cases. Central Otago increased by one case to reach 17. Southland remained at nine cases, Clutha at five, Gore at two and Waitaki at one.

The largest age group affected remained 20 to 29-year-olds, who made up 57 of 195 cases; followed by 50 to 59-year-olds at 40; and 30 to 39-year-olds at 26.

Mr Cull — along with the region’s mayors — yesterday issued a plea to police for checkpoints on southern roads to restrict travel between districts by would-be Easter holiday-makers in the coming days.

"In particular, the implementation of checkpoints on the roads to keep would-be travellers in their own areas and out of the usual destinations, such as Queenstown and Central Otago, would be a significant assistance to us," he said.

"This would directly help us to stop the spread of Covid-19 beyond the bubbles and clusters that exist today. We thank you in advance for your support in this matter," Mr Cull said.

The Southern District Health Board confirmed last night that one of two patients in southern hospitals was in a critical, but stable, condition in Dunedin Hospital.

Lakes District Hospital, in Queenstown, also had one patient, who was in a stable condition, the health board’s daily media statement said.

The Bluff wedding cluster remained significant, increasing by eight. It was now linked to 81 cases, representing the second-largest single source of transmission behind Auckland’s Marist College’s cluster of 84.

And while the South continued to have the most cases nationally, the largest increases yesterday were recorded elsewhere — in Canterbury, with 15 new cases, followed by with Waitemata nine new cases.

The South’s eight new cases was the third-largest rise.

Ms Ardern yesterday refused to answer definitively whether the Government was considering extending the lockdown but Director-general of Health Ashley Bloomfield said "new data" from lab testing by region and looking at the "positivity rates in regions" would be major factors in a decision.

"Yes, we’ve certainly got some promising signs, but we want to be sure that there are not any community outbreaks of a small nature out there that we haven’t located," he said.

"We’re confident, but we’ll look at our testing over the next week or so to make sure we are identifying any if they are there."

Ms Ardern said the data Dr Bloomfield was referring to would inform the Government not only about how to ease the restrictions of Alert Level 4 but also ‘‘whether or not there may be certain regions that are in a better position than others’’.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

Comments

So Cull now see's himself as some kind of advisor now? Appointed to his role by a disgraced Minister of Health, we find him as Chairman SDHB, with nothing more to say than "we need check points".
Well, where are the 1.8 million flu jabs Dave? Maybe that is a story you would be better sharing? Why are we short of test swabs and kits when we were told by the now disgraced Health Minister that there was more than enough? And why, when we are seeing the highest rate of infection here in the south, you finally pop your head up asking for checkpoints?
For weeks some of the most leading disease experts have asked for testing to be rolled out. Finally, a few drive throughs were set up.
Then on top of this farce, we have Ardern looking good, but for all those with short memories, she was relentlessly petitioned by a leading doctor and school teachers before she FINALLY decided a lockdown was required.
When all this is done and dusted, the detailed investigations by media and interested parties will reveal the fact that so far, 'we dodged a bullet', not by decisive leadership, but by pure luck that the RIGHT people applied immense pressure on authorities act in the nic of time.

...and just to add to the confusion, I would urge you all to read Dr Murial Newmans article posted here on ODT titled, "State of House Arrest" via the Star.
Deduct from this as you will......have we all been duped? How serious is this? Has our government had a knee jerk reaction?
Have we all indeed, over reacted, or, have we been utterly correct with our current path? Don't just 'skim read' this article, read the content.
Only the future will illustrate the folly of our history.......but at what price to our futures and future generations? There is a HUGE amount at stake here Jacinda, the next election may just show how deep that cost is.
To me at least, our current thinking is still with the eye's of the 'Middle Ages'. Burn what we don't understand.
Has this been nothing more than a social experiment? A great way to cool an overcooked global economy? Who knows? I certainly don't, but I do know our officials are just as partial to scaremongering as the rest of us!

Check points? Really? Mr Cull, you are, in my mind, advising beyond your depth and functional role. SDHB can't even get flu vaccines sorted! But that's just my opinion......Enjoy what you can of Easter everyone.

Sorry seen Culls face didn't read the story, he is a total story teller and has no credibility at all in my book he still makes my skin crawl, He still has a lot to answer to. I'd not trust him as far as I could throw him- Give it up Cull

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