55 new community cases; Northland, Waikato in level 3 until Monday

There are 55 new Covid cases and Northland and Waikato will remain in alert level 3 for another five days.

Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the Waikato had recorded great vaccination levels in recent times. He also extended a thanks to Northlanders who had been tested and vaccinated.

He said there still wasn't confidence in the Covid situation in Northland, due to the reluctance of the travellers from sharing information.

He said the best thing for Northlanders to do was to get tested, even if they had very mild symptoms.

In its daily update this afternoon, the Ministry of Health confirmed of the new cases 53 were in Auckland and 2 were in Waikato.

On the Waikato staying in level 3, Hipkins said the two unlinked cases were a key factor in keeping the area in the higher alert level.

"We don't have yet a full understanding of who might be involved in the chain of transmission there."

The total number of cases in the current outbreak is now 1719.

Twenty-nine of today's cases have so far been linked, meaning 26 are yet to be linked.

There are 32 cases in hospital, six are in ICU or HDU.

Yesterday 72,683 doses of the vaccine were administered, of these 17,396 were first doses and 55,287 were second doses.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the significant milestone of six million total doses of the vaccine had been passed earlier today.

There would be 100 additional vaccination sites across NZ on Saturday, dubbed Super Saturday, including dedicated sites for people with disabilities.

There would be vaccination campervans, especially up north, used. DoC would be using boats and four-wheelers. Planes would be used as well

Hipkins denied the Government was dragging its heels on tightening the Auckland boundary. He said the reality was that goods and services needed to move through the boundary and it wasn't feasible to shut it off entirely.

Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said a review was underway of how people's testing history is checked, and there was work being done on whether proof of vaccination is necessary for people travelling over the boundary.

A teacher in an early learning centre has tested positive in Auckland. There are 11 close contacts, some of which are children.

Dialysis Unit, North Shore Hospital

Following a previously reported exposure event at the Dialysis Unit adjacent to North Shore Hospital, a total of two patients and two staff members have now tested positive for Covid-19. 

Staff are also undergoing rapid antigen testing before the start of each shift, with all results this morning again negative.

A number of staff in the unit are considered close contacts and have been stood down as a precaution. 

All appropriate steps are being taken to manage potential risk while maintaining dialysis services to this group of renal patients.

All patients are being screened on arrival at the unit. Full PPE precautions are being taken within the unit, which is being intensively cleaned between each group of patients.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins. Photo: NZ Herald
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins. Photo: NZ Herald

Truck driver

An Auckland-based truck driver who travelled to Northland for work purposes on October 9 has tested positive for Covid-19.
The case is currently being assessed to identify risk and any exposure events. 

While the case investigation is still in the early stages initial information suggests a limited scope of exposure in Northland, given Alert Level 3 precautions within the delivery sector. 

Advice will be provided to businesses involved, but at this stage, there is no evidence of significant risk to the region from this case. Any locations of interest will be listed on the Ministry of Health website.

Waikato update

There are two new community cases in Waikato today who are members of the same household in Hamilton. They are being transferred today to a local quarantine facility.

At this stage, the cases are unlinked but interviews will be carried out today to help determine any links to known cases. Two workplace exposure events have been identified but Hamilton residents are encouraged to please keep checking the Ministry’s website for any locations of interest.

Vaccination rates in Waikato remained high yesterday with 7,434 people getting a dose. There were 2,980 tests processed in Waikato yesterday. 

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