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There are 20 new Covid cases in the community today – the lockdown is slowing the outbreak, says Ashley Bloomfield.
“We are heading in the right direction, but we want to make sure they are the only 20 cases. We can’t let even one case slip through the net,” said Bloomfield.
He and Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson also revealed that people travelling in and out of the Auckland region for essential work may be soon tested at the regional borders.
And Bloomfield said health officials were today working on advice for tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting, where it will be decided whether the rest of New Zealand, outside of Auckland, can come down from level 3 to level 2 early this week.
The director general of health said there were now 801 cases in the outbreak, including 79 recoveries. And there are 38 cases in hospital including six people in intensive care, with four requiring ventilation.
Bloomfield said the ongoing drop in numbers showed level 4 lockdown measures were working but the highly contagious nature of the virus meant it was important to remain vigilant.
The 20 cases today matches the same number as that released on Saturday, and down from daily highs in the 80s a week ago.
“We are heading in the right direction,” said Robertson. “But the job is not over yet. This is why we want to see testing numbers in Auckland increase.”
Bloomfield said the Government wanted to make sure there was no “leakage” across Auckland boundary, by testing people who were crossing the boundary.
Discussions are happening with transport industry on testing at Auckland’s boundary, Robertson said. A number of businesses were encouraging of the idea, he said.
“It’s not so much testing at the border, but surveillance testing of people crossing the border,” Bloomfield said.
Bloomfield said the boundary testing wouldn’t be “a forever thing”.
Robertson said Victoria relaxed restrictions and was now reporting hundreds of cases per day.
He urged people who were a close contact to get tested, along with anyone who had cold or flu symptoms.
“With Delta, there is no room for complacency. Let’s double down, let’s get the job done. We have got to do this once and we have got to do this right,” said Robertson.
On the death of a North Shore woman, aged 91 – the first death in this outbreak – Bloomfield again endorsed the woman’s family’s message for others to take the virus seriously and follow public health advice.
STORY CONTINUES AFTER BLOG
Bloomfield said ongoing investigations show the total number of unlinked cases had fallen from 58 last Sunday to 30 today.
Analysis of yesterday’s cases show 75 per cent were contacts of cases. Six people were potentially infectious in the community.
There were several thousand community swabs taken yesterday, Bloomfield said. Auckland Regional Public Health Service analysis of testing shows over 20 per cent of Auckland population has been tested.
'Lockdown is doing its job'
The downward trend prompted modeller Shaun Hendy to say lockdown is “doing its job against Delta”, and the possibility of Auckland moving out of alert level 4 this month is “certainly looking more possible”.
But experts fear there could still be a long tail, and the current outbreak could continue to produce more cases for weeks.
Robertson is also expected to give an update on the supermarket terror attack.
No Covid patients had to be moved out of ICU for the terrorist attack victims, Bloomfield said. All three major hospitals in the Auckland region have capacity.
After wishing all dads a Happy Father’s Day, as well as birthday wishes for his mother and fellow minister Chris Hipkins, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson paid tribute to essential workers, including police, ambulance officers and supermarket workers associated with the terror attack, as well as those helping the vulnerable in the Covid outbreak.
Today’s announcement follows the death of a woman, aged in her 90s, at North Shore Hospital. She is the first person in New Zealand to die from the Delta variant of the virus.
“Every death is a reminder of the damage Covid-19 can cause when it gets into our community,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said yesterday.
The woman had underlying health conditions, which meant it was not clinically appropriate for her to receive ventilator or ICU care.
Her family said they were devastated and shocked by the loss of their loved one.
The Ministry of Health said one of the affected family members was urgingeveryone to take Covid-19 seriously and follow public health advice. His message for New Zealanders is simple: “This is real.”
Yesterday it was reported that 43 cases remain in hospital, and seven of these patients are in intensive care units.
There are currently 782 cases in the community outbreak – 765 in Auckland and 17 are in Wellington.
Thirty remain without an epidemiological link to the outbreak.
Meanwhile, all remaining North Shore locations of interest were removed from the Ministry of Health’s list this morning, before Countdown Northcote was added at 10am. Apart from the supermarket, there are no more locations of interest on Auckland’s North Shore.
There are currently 136 events involving 89 locations. Three new locations were added at 10am, including foodmarts in Papatoetoe and Ōtāhuhu.
Northland was the latest region to move to alert level 3 on Friday, joining the rest of the country.
Auckland remains under lockdown until a review will be made by Cabinet on Tuesday September 14.
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