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The Southern District Health Board amassed 10 new cases yesterday, and director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield advised the amount of cases due to community transmission was higher than previously stated.
Further, he said the Government was just now looking at how the spread of the coronavirus might indicate when lockdown restrictions could be eased.
"The goal is to get the number of cases right down again, and as soon as we can.
"We want to be able to release, or step down from, Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3.
"It may well be that we are not able to do that in every part of the country at the same time, as one possible scenario," Dr Bloomfield said.
The SDHB area yesterday had 118 cases, still higher than anywhere else in New Zealand, including Waikato (117) and Auckland (116).SDHB figures show the number of confirmed cases in Queenstown-Lakes shot up seven cases, from 38 to 45 yesterday.
Dunedin at 35 cases remained the centre with the second-most cases in the South.
Invercargill (19), Central Otago (nine), and Southland (seven), all had an increase by one case yesterday. Clutha had three cases.
The South now had the capacity to conduct 450 tests a day — and averaged 199 tests a day over the past week, a statement from the health board last night said.
Dr Bloomfield reiterated the message at the start of the lockdown that it would be seven to 10 days after the at-least four weeks of Level 4 lockdown took effect before daily case numbers "might" start to decrease.
Given that day eight of the lockdown had resulted in the highest number of daily cases to date, "we’re clearly not there yet", he said.
Across New Zealand there were 76 new confirmed cases and 13 new probable cases (a total of 89 new cases), bringing the total number of cases in the country to 797.
All patients were stable, but the numbers included 13 in hospital and two patients in ICU. There were no additional deaths.
For the cases the Ministry of Health knew about, there was still a strong link to overseas travel — at 51% of cases.