Covid update: Ministry of Health reports three new cases. One in Auckland community, two imported cases in managed isolation. Three people in Middlemore Hospital in ICU

Covid update: Ministry of Health reports three new cases. One in Auckland community, two imported cases in managed isolation. Three people in Middlemore Hospital in ICU
Image sourced from Pixabay.

The Ministry of Health reported three new confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, with one in the Auckland community linked to the existing cluster and two in managed isolation.

There are nine people with Covid-19 in hospital in New Zealand with three people at Middlemore Hospital in ICU. 

"There are 151 people linked to the [Auckland] cluster who have been moved into the Auckland quarantine facility. This includes 82 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their household contacts," the Ministry of Health says.

There are nine people with COVID-19 in hospital - two in Auckland City Hospital, four people in Middlemore, two people in North Shore Hospital and one person in Waikato Hospital. Six people are stable on a ward, and three people in Middlemore are in ICU."

Laboratories processed 7,005 Covid-19 tests on Saturday.

On Saturday the Ministry of Health announced six new Covid-19 cases in the community, with four linked to the Auckland cluster but two under investigation.

Below is the Ministry of Health's press release.

3 new cases of COVID-19

There are three new confirmed cases of COVID-19 to report in New Zealand today.

One case is epidemiologically linked to the cluster in Auckland as a household contact of a previously reported case. 

Two are imported cases – one is a woman in her 20s who arrived in New Zealand on August 16 from Croatia via Switzerland and Hong Kong. She has been in MIQ at the Sudima in Rotorua and has been transferred to MIQ at Jet Park after testing positive for COVID-19 around day 3 of her stay.

The second case is a person in their 30s who has been in MIQ at the Grand Millennium in Auckland and tested positive around day 12 of their stay. 

The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 114, of which 18 are imported cases from managed isolation facilities. 

This morning our contact tracing team had identified 2,308 close contacts of cases, of which 2,219 have been contacted and are self-isolating, and we are in the process of contacting the rest.  

There are 151 people linked to the cluster who have been moved into the Auckland quarantine facility.
This includes 82 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their household contacts.

Our total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is now 1,324, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.

There are nine people with COVID-19 in hospital - two in Auckland City Hospital, four people in Middlemore, two people in North Shore Hospital and one person in Waikato Hospital. 

Six people are stable on a ward, and three people in Middlemore are in ICU. 

All of the cases who are in hospital are isolated and carefully managed separately from other patients.

The public can be confident that our DHBs are managing this effectively, as they did in the first outbreak of COVID-19 in New Zealand. We have heard reports of people who are reluctant to get an ambulance or go to hospital – hospitals continue to be safe places to receive medical care, and people should feel confident going to hospital to receive treatment. 

Yesterday laboratories processed 7,005 tests for COVID-19, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 692,481. 

Laboratories are now processing tests within 24 hours of receiving them, although people should allow four days to be notified of their test results from when they were swabbed. Positive results are notified and followed up straight away. This is consistent with timeframes throughout most of the pandemic, and takes into account transport times, processing, checking and notification to GPs. 

People who have symptoms of COVID-19 should continue to seek advice from their GP or Healthline on getting a test.

Auckland exemptions

Along with Alert Level restrictions, regional boundary restrictions are a method to help contain the possible spread of COVID-19 beyond an area that is experiencing community outbreak.

From 11.59pm on August 22, there have been two major changes to Auckland travel restrictions to make movement across the boundary more workable for businesses and service providers. 

People can now transit through Auckland without stopping in order to travel for work. They must show evidence of the purpose of their travel and their departure point and destination, but an exemption is no longer required. 

Existing class exemptions have also been added into the COVID-19 Public Health Response Order to make them more visible and clearer for people. 

The COVID-19 website provides the most up-to-date list of travel exemption categories and evidence requirements.

The Ministry has received more than 10,300 applications for exemptions – more than 1,500 applications have been approved and around 400 have been declined. Urgent applications, for example, to visit a dying family member, are prioritised and processed promptly. 

People and businesses should check the information on the website to see whether they need to apply before doing so. 

Patients who need to travel into Auckland for hospital appointments do not need an exemption – in order to move through the regional border they will just need to produce identification and an appointment letter or similar evidence.


Healthline has reported a number of calls this weekend from elderly people who live alone seeking both medical advice and general advice around whether they could go out at all under Alert Level 3. 

A reminder that today would be a good opportunity to call people you know that live alone and connect with them – check on your neighbours and other people who may appreciate a chat.

Kingswood Rest Home

The Kingswood Rest Home in Morrinsville has now officially been cleared of any possible cases of COVID-19.

We sincerely thank the rest home staff, residents, and their families for their assistance in taking the appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of everyone.


NZ COVID Tracer has now recorded 1,744,000 registered users, and there have been 310,707 QR posters created.

App users have scanned posters 14,432,239 times, and made 1,511,829 manual entries. 

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

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Hooray. I'm ready to be done with L3.

aren't we all .. but a much lower number of tests yesterday so read that single case result with caution ..

Er? 175000 tests and how many positives? About 90. And no more than 13 on any day, and that day was over a week ago.
L3 is done

Sorry, what is the logic here? Yesterday we tested about 1/4th the amount of people we were testing at the start of the outbreak per day. Today's briefing says we have just under a hundred or so close contacts (not casual) contacts still to be tracked down - yes it's a small % of overall contacts, but it could be enough of a seed to leave us heading back to L3 in two weeks' time.

Were it not for the rain across Auckland this afternoon, our social distancing this weekend would have been a total failure. And now we have ten buses of people (and people who rode those buses after other people) worth of contacts to track, isolate, etc. Added to this, we're still telling people with no symptoms not to get tested. You won't find asymptomatic community spread if you're excluding those people from accessing tests.

We're going to be in L3 for at least another week. We have't even posted a zero day yet.

1 case is good; however, lower tests and the fact we still have two cases under investigation is not the best. Either way I think you can be certain at a minimum rest of country goes back to 1 from Wednesday

True. I feel confident that they haven't decided that the cases under investigation are problematic, though -- at least not yet, e.g. still genuinely under investigation, or probably ok. If they knew now that those cases are problems, they'd be fronting a presser to prepare us for tomorrow's bad news.

Good point, I guess its more comforting when your new cases are close contacts already potentially expected to be positive etc

Good point, I guess its more comforting when your new cases are close contacts already potentially expected to be positive etc

The Pink haired lady on tv wanted us back at level 4 for several weeks..

I’m sure she does. She also wanted L4 extended the first time (beyond when we actually moved down to l3). So I wouldn’t worry that she has a secret line to JA and AB.

Now, as those in Europe go on holiday, people in parts of New Zealand and Australia -- two countries that were once held up as examples of how to handle the virus -- remain under lockdown. To some, that begs the question: did they take the right approach? And by promising safety, were governments like Ardern's always setting themselves up to fail?

But even if the authorities hadn't made errors, it's possible to imagine a scenario where an infectious person could slip through the cracks.

Here is a thread by a medic wishing for elimination pointing to woeful health facilities and staff resilience.

I guess we will see what happens in Europe. I doubt they will have less restrictions than most of our country are enjoying now let alone the lesser restrictions we will probably have on Thursday.

It was plainly obvious, from very early on, that the elimination approach was never going to work. People never like to admit they were wrong, so I expect more doubling-down from that camp of scientists and politicians.

I mean the right approach will depend on the time till a safe, effective vaccine. If its forthcoming we will look like geniuses, if it's a long time into the future we will look like idiots

This is a video of the English Garden in Munich taken 2 days ago.

Think of this the next time you see someone hyperventilating over someone walking their dog at Mission Bay

Fat pat's comment should be a sticky. Apologies i accidentally reported it. It is good for our mental health to see other countries being back to normal.

Thanks. Incidentally I was there that day. I went to the Eisbach and jumped in the river because it was so hot. Lots of fun. I think Kiwis need to see whats going on overseas. See how unafraid, unrestricted, and free people are in Europe. Contrast to this herald article which is kind of negative, scary, and punitive.

Covid 19 coronavirus: Aucklanders flout level 3 restrictions in the sun

It's not like there are no restrictions in Germany. Masks are absolutely mandatory in shops, trains, any closed spaces etc. But that's a small price to pay for an open functional economy.

Pat, I'm glad you're enjoying the German approach, which has been pretty successful. But I hope you don't think that the herald's hyperbolic "reporting" is a particularly good gauge of attitudes in NZ.

New Zealand's lust for lockdown is the latest example of vapid political virtue-signalling
NZ may have contained the virus for now with the low mortality rates, but it has taken draconian policies and economic pain to get there

NZ may have contained the virus, for now at least, registering the lowest mortality rates in the OECD, but it has taken genuinely draconian policies and great economic pain to get there. The Ardern administration is eliminating rights on a scale more reminiscent of authoritarian China than a Western liberal democracy.

Before the recent spike, commentators lauded Ardern as being “on course to eradicate the virus completely.” The ambition was childish and hubristic in the extreme. Until the planet reaches a state of elimination, New Zealand will have to stay in indefinite isolation, with domestic lock-downs a likely fixture of life, perhaps for years to come. The economy cannot bear this for long. Nor can the people.

Or perhaps the article is an example of the Torygraph serving its masters by denigrating a successful approach to covid, when Britain's response has been so useless. We can't suggest that the Conservative party might be wrong, eh?

Didn’t the UK have its worst economic decline in the current QTR

The Ardern administration is eliminating rights on a scale more reminiscent of authoritarian China than a Western liberal democracy.

I did see one of my ACT-voting friends on Facebook suggesting that the suggestion to wear masks was as draconian as Nazis tattooing Jews' wrists in death camps. Our suffering is indeed terrible, and comparisons with the killing of millions clearly not hyperbolic.

the two catching buses are the problem, they can not track everybody as two people got on with unregistered hop cards. there could be an ember burning away that wont show itself for ten days, a classic case of we either need bluetooth enabled apps or a covid card to help.
this might be why auckland stays in level 3 for another week, i hope not
as for outside auckland they should be able to move to level 1.5, masks compulsory in crowds and social distancing of a metre, which until the vaccine comes along should be the new normal, rather that than lockdowns

Yeah definitely. I feel that is what is coming next. It will be a test for us all to make it work.

I wonder how hard it would be to change the system to not accept unregistered hop cards.

And a little worrying that they didn't see that problem coming.

Luckily this will not cost our govt as society and the media party are rallying behind the govt and we should all yell and mock the opposition.

Turkmenistan comes to mind were the president got 97 percent of the vote..

Really? The govt is popular and you think this is equivalent to a tin pot dictatorship?

I think it's too early to tell what the political fallout might be.

Let's not fool ourselves with the perfectionism when dealing with COVID. The Chinese authority has been quite brutal when coming down to Covid control; they don't give a toss to the individual rights. They lock up people inside their flat; they round up people for testing, but even that cannot prevent clusters from forming here and there. We can't stop the bug from coming into our country unless we stop 100℅ of the imports, exports and people flow. As long as we are vigilant, we will be fine.

Realstitically, the virus's only has a singe path, and that is via people coming into NZ from overseas, from Covid infected countries overseas. So a watertight border and processes can stop it coming in. It is called quarantine, and we need to do it properly and plug the holes. . There is no evidence that Covid can come in on imported goods. eg The cold store was a possibility but has now been debunked.

It will never be *water-tight*. The longer we go on and the more people pass through quarantine, the more inevitable it is that someone will return a false negative at day 12 and be released while infectious. It will happen, and it may have happened here. Our biggest comfort is that as it recedes around the world, there will be fewer people coming through our borders from those places that could possibly return a false negative. So eventually yes, risk must logically drop - but unless we are double-testing everyone, there is still risk present.

We do double test everyone, on day 3 and day 12.

The risk is person A is genuinely negative on day 3 and catches a new infection off person B who has a false negative on day 3, and person A then gets a false negative on day 12 because they only have a very new infection that is not yet detectable. Person A is then released while infectious.

But, assuming person B then gets picked up by their day 12 test or symptom monitoring (highly likely), I'd expect contact tracers would contact all people released while person B was in the facility and check up on their health. So such a transmission path way could still be snipped swiftly in the bud.

We don't really double-test people to ensure the test results are correct but because it's possible they may not be able to be detected as having Covid19 if they've caught it in transit. That's a different logic to running two swabs to confirm a double-negative result on the same day. But yes, this is why you have contract tracing, although a few bus rides and days spent back at work could make that a huge task.

I haven't seen anything about the efficacy of double-swabbing someone but I've never heard of this being done a single time, which suggests that it's rarely done, which suggests that it's probably not effective.

There are two primary sources of why you'd get a false-negative and double-swabbing can only address one of them:
1. Insufficient viral load present in the patient so no amount of swabbing will be able to get enough virus to be detectable.
2. Swab was incorrectly administered so it did not contain enough virus to be detectable.

Double-swabbing can only help with #2 above, which is probably not the main cause of false negatives, I would suggest. There are other secondary considerations also: if people know they have to get 2 swabs they may be even more likely to decline testing (those in isolation can still decline to be tested - to my knowledge, no one has), the risk of having nurses administer two half-arsed 'brief' swabs instead of 1 good thorough swab may introduce another failure avenue, additional time and test resources required by the front-line nurses as well as the labs.

What about flight crews? As of 2 weeks back they weren't subject to quarantine. That's a huge hole in the system.

Just because control X isn't being taken, doesn't mean that the controls Y, Z, A, B and C that are being done are leaving "a huge hole".

Controls need to be reasonably practicable. Quarantine for airline crew is not reasonably practicable.