There are four new Covid-19 cases today - two in the community linked to the Auckland cluster and two caught at the border.
The community cases relate to a "bereavement event" that links to the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship church group.
The Ministry of Health said: “This sub-cluster has come about as a result of a contact of a case having close contact with other people.
“As far as we can tell they were unaware they had been infected and were incubating and spreading the virus at the time.
“This underscores the importance of close contacts following the public health advice they’re given which includes strict self-isolation even if they don’t have symptoms, and even if they have returned a negative test.”
As it’s turned out, someone in the bereavement event sub-cluster was also an undisclosed contact of someone from the Mt Roskill church cluster.
Of the 81 active Covid-19 cases in the community, 45 relate to the Mt Roskill church cluster.
Interest.co.nz has asked the Ministry of Health how many cases relate to the bereavement event sub-cluster, and how many of these cases were already self-isolating when they tested positive.
Health Minister Chris Hipkins said officials were getting on top of the bereavement event sub-cluster very quickly. Most of the new cases from the past week relate to this event.
Of the 332 contacts identified from the Mt Roskill church, 213 have now been tested twice.
Yesterday 7,950 tests were processed.
While Police are supporting the Ministry of Health in managing this cluster, Hipkins said he wasn’t going to take a punitive approach towards people who don’t cooperate with contact tracing or other health measures.
Hipkins stressed the importance of people not spreading misinformation about Covid-19. He said the spread of such information was what's stopping the country from moving down alert levels.
He said everyone has a right to be sceptical, but everyone also has a right to be safe.
Cabinet will make a decision on alert levels on Monday, but any changes won't take effect until at least Wednesday.
Hipkins wasn’t keen to keep certain suburbs at more restrictive alert levels. He said a regionalised approach, as has been undertaken by having Auckland at Level 2.5, was as small a circle he would draw around a certain area that would have more stringent restrictions applied to it.
Hipkins said Melbourne’s experience indicated suburban lockdowns don’t work. He also said the traits of the Auckland cluster show a localised lockdown would not have worked either.
Here's a media release from the Ministry of Health:
There are four new cases of COVID-19 to report in New Zealand today.
Two are community cases linked to the Auckland August cluster and two are imported cases detected at managed isolation facilities.
Of the imported cases, one is a man in his 30s and the other is a woman in her 50s. Both cases arrived in New Zealand on a flight from India on 27 August. They were in managed isolation in Christchurch and tested positive to day 12 testing. Both cases are now in quarantine.
Of our two community cases today, both have epidemiological links to existing cases in the bereavement sub-cluster and back to the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship group.
One factor that it’s important to underline here is that this sub-cluster has come about as a result of a contact of a case having close contact with other people.
As far as we can tell they were unaware they had been infected and were incubating and spreading the virus at the time.
This underscores the importance of close contacts following the public health advice they’re given which includes strict self-isolation even if they don’t have symptoms, and even if they have returned a negative test.
We are aware that church leaders are actively encouraging all members of the congregation to retest by Friday and to comply with other public health advice such as self-isolation.
As a result of this cooperation, by 8am today, labs had registered new tests for 64% of the congregation (213 of the 332 people).
There are 101 close contacts associated with this sub-cluster. Public Health officials make daily phone calls to close contacts to conduct symptom checks. Teams engaged in these checks are reporting a high degree of compliance.
Auckland public health has good testing coverage and has only needed to set up one additional testing site in Mt Roskill. It’s located at the Mt Roskill War Memorial, and is open from 9am to 4pm.
There are also pop-up testing stations that can move to new locations every couple of days to respond to community need.
The school deep clean at St Dominic’s has been completed and testing of all staff and students is well underway.
Many members of the school community have been tested since they were informed of the case on Tuesday afternoon.
Testers have been supplied with a surveillance code for testing of asymptomatic members of the school community so it can keep track of the numbers.
As at 11am today, labs had registered 561 tests against this code. There will also have been additional tests where the person did not specify they were connected with St Dominic’s.
Staff and students have been provided with access to two dedicated testing centres not open to the general public. This means they can be tested without long waits and the results can be processed as quickly as possible – tests from these sites are prioritised at laboratories.
The vast majority of students at St Dominic’s are casual contacts, and being tested as a precaution. If these students and staff are well and have no symptoms of COVID-19, they do not need to self-isolate, while waiting for test results.
Close contacts have been advised they need to stay in self-isolation for 14 days, even if their test result is negative.
There are now 72 people linked to the community cluster who remain in the Auckland quarantine facility, which includes 56 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their household contacts.
Since August 11, our contact tracing team has identified 3,372 close contacts of cases, of which 3,354 have been contacted and are self-isolating, and we are in the process of contacting the rest.
Today there are three people in hospital with COVID-19 – one is in isolation on a ward in North Shore Hospital. Two are in ICU, at North Shore and Waikato hospitals.
With today’s four new cases and nine additional recovered cases, our total number of active cases is 120. Of those, 39 are imported cases in MIQ facilities, and 81 are community cases.
Our total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is now 1,441, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.
Yesterday our laboratories processed 7,950 tests for COVID-19, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 839,467
It’s encouraging that we continue to see the number of people registering with, and using the NZ COVID Tracer app to record their movements.
The app has now recorded 2,171,700 registered users, with 49,717,733 poster scans. There have been 364,812 QR codes created to be displayed around the country.
A reminder that an NZ COVID Tracer booklet is now also available from the COVID19 website to help people keep a written record of where they’ve been and who they’ve seen if they can’t download the app.