Friday morning update:
One new Auckland community case of Covid-19 has been confirmed overnight.
Here's more from RNZ:
North Shore Hospital is taking action after it was confirmed a patient, who has now tested positive, was treated there.
Associate Minister of Health Ayesha Verall told Morning Report there are now 22 confirmed community cases in Auckland.
Yesterday, 11 community cases were added to the list, and the number of locations of interest continued to swell.
Last night it was confirmed a student at Northcote College on Auckland's North Shore has tested positive for Covid-19 and staff and students have been were directed to isolate at home.
Meanwhile, the country will learn the government's plans for the lockdown outside Auckland and Coromandel this afternoon.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will announce the decision at 3pm after a Cabinet meeting to discuss the current settings.
And here's a statement from the Ministry of Health.
Patients diverted from North Shore Hospital ED as a precaution
People needing emergency care are being diverted from Auckland’s North Shore hospital and Short Stay Surgical Unit from this morning following a positive case being confirmed as being treated prior to their being diagnosed with COVID-19.
The Ministry of Health’s usual statement at 1pm will have more detail of this case and any other new cases.
Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said both the hospital’s Emergency Department and the Short Stay Surgical Unit have been closed today after hospital staff diagnosed a confirmed COVID-positive patient had been earlier admitted to North Shore Hospital for an unrelated condition prior to the current lockdown.
Given the incubation period of the virus, the DHB has assumed that the person could have been infectious during the admission to North Shore Hospital.
The DHB has taken immediate action to close the North Shore Hospital Emergency Department and Short Stay Surgical Unit to new admissions. Diversions to other hospital EDs are in place as the DHB this morning contacts staff and patients who may have been exposed to COVID.
Affected staff will be stood down and advised to follow public health advice and potentially exposed current patients will be notified and isolated as well as tested in the hospital. Patients already discharged will be followed-up by public health officials.
The affected parts of the hospital will be deep cleaned today and then reopened as soon as it is safe to do so.
The DHB will be working today to confirm the number of staff and patients affected.
The Ministry of Health is reporting a further 11 confirmed community Covid cases in Auckland in the past 24 hours, bringing the current Auckland cluster to 21. Two of the new cases are in hospital in a stable condition.
However, there appears to have been a major breakthrough in identifying just where the outbreak came from.
Another development is that the Government has given approval for 12-to-15 year-olds to receive the Pfizer vaccine. They will be eligible from September 1, although any parents already eligible to book an appointment for themselves will also be able to book in their 12-to-15 year-old children.
And, additionally, Cabinet is meeting on Friday to make decisions on the lockdown and whether the three-day period for the rest of New Zealand other than Auckland and Coromandel would be extended.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday afternoon that genome sequencing had linked the outbreak to the arrival of a passenger from Sydney on August 7.
That person, who was put into the Crowne Plaza managed isolation facility in Auckland, tested positive after their day one test, and was moved to the Jet Park facility on August 9. Subsequently their health deteriorated to a point where they were transferred to Middlemore Hospital on August 16.
"We believe we have uncovered the piece of the puzzle we were looking for," Arden said.
In terms of how other people could have contracted the virus from this person, inquiries are mostly focusing on the Crowne Plaza.
Arden said the timings suggested that there were therefore just "one or maybe two missing links" in the transmission chain given the short time the virus has been in the community.
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said a family of three that were in the room next door to the arrival from Sydney had just all tested positive to Covid in the Day 12 tests. A hold has been put on departures from the Crowne Plaza as is the custom when there is a Day 12 positive result.
Ardern said while it was likely new community cases would continue to be found there was encouragement from the fact that the virus had "not been here for long".
There were 16,000 tests carried out in Auckland on Wednesday - the most since August of last year.
The online booking vaccination website had a record day on Wednesday, with 195,000 new bookings.
Ardern said a "phased re-opening" of vaccination had now begun.
This is the Ministry of Health's daily update:
There are 11 new cases of COVID-19 in the community to confirm. This brings the total number of community cases at this stage to 21. All cases are being transferred safely to an Auckland isolation facility, under strict infection prevention and control procedures, including the use of full PPE.
Twelve cases are confirmed as part of the Auckland cluster, a further eight are currently being investigated and are as yet unlinked. One of the cases is an international airline crew member already in the public arena and is unlikely to be linked to the current community outbreak.
Public health officials are conducting interviews to establish how these new cases were infected and to determine further details of their movements. We will release this information as it becomes available.
Two of the community cases were taken to North Shore Hospital overnight on Wednesday, both are in a stable condition.
These new community cases are not unexpected and these numbers are expected to grow because of the large number of locations of interest, and the large numbers of people who were at these exposure events.
New cases identified at the border
Arrival date From Via Positive test day/reason Managed isolation/quarantine location *5 August Australia Direct Day 12/routine Auckland 5 August Belgium UAE Day 12/routine Auckland *5 August Australia Direct Day 12/routine Auckland *5 August Australia Direct Day 12/routine Auckland 11 August UAE Direct Day 6/routine Auckland 17 August Tanzania UAE Day 0/routine Auckland
*These cases are in a travel bubble together.
There are two historical cases to report today. One person who arrived on 13 August from Serbia and Montenegro via United Arab Emirates was confirmed during a routine day zero test. The second arrived on 12 August from South Africa via United Arab Emirates was confirmed during a day three routine test. Both are currently in a quarantine facility in Christchurch.
Whole Genome Sequencing
Whole genome sequencing of the community cases that have been sequenced are a close match to a recent returnee from Sydney who arrived on a managed red zone flight on August 7, was tested and returned a positive result on the 9 August. They were transferred from the Crowne Plaza to the Jet Park that same day.
This person subsequently became unwell and was moved to Middlemore Hospital on the 16 August.
This information provides a strong lead in identifying how this outbreak may have started.
We still expect case numbers to increase before they taper. So we need to be prepared for that. But today we have uncovered a likely source, and that means our ability to circle the virus, lock it down and stamp it out has greatly improved.
Public health staff across New Zealand are now engaged in contact tracing work in Auckland and the Coromandel.
Auckland Regional Public Health Service, alongside the Ministry’s National Investigation and Tracing Centre and all of the country’s public health units, are working hard to investigate community cases, identify their contacts, tracing those contacts, and ensuring they’re in isolation and tested.
Isolation, when in alert level 4, means isolating themselves from other household members.
As of this morning, more than 360 individual contacts have been identified. This number excludes contacts from large settings, such as Avondale College and the Central Auckland Church of Christ, which are still being assessed. The total number is expected to increase significantly this afternoon as more contacts are identified, tests taken, and test results received.
Details of additional locations of interest identified have been added to the Ministry’s website this morning. This will be update progressively as further locations of interest are identified.
The Ministry’s website will also include advice on what to do if you were at any of these locations at the time when you could potentially have been exposed. Text message alerts are being sent to people who scanned in using the COVID-19 Tracer App at locations during the relevant times.
If you were at a location of interest, please self-isolate and call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on testing.
A bubble of three people in the Crowne Plaza MIQ facility tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday. It was day 12 of their stay in MIQ. These returnees were in a room adjacent to the positive case from NSW under investigation as the index case in the current Auckland community cluster for period that he was at the Crowne Plaza.
As a precautionary measure, a hold on some departures at the MIQ Crown Plaza hotel in Auckland was put in place last night.
Returnees on the same floor who were scheduled to leave, are required to stay while Auckland public health officials investigate this matter, including reviewing CCTV footage and running whole genome sequencing on samples from the three new cases.
We appreciate this will be disruptive for those asked to stay and we will support them as much as possible.
We have now received the results of wastewater collected on Monday and Tuesday.
Sampling collected on 16 August returned positive results for wastewater from three Auckland sites: Rosedale WWTP (Auckland North Shore), Western and Eastern Interceptors. Sampling from 17 August at the St George site in Auckland, which is a subcatchment of the Western Interceptor which collects wastewater from the Waitakere area was also positive.
This follows negative results from the Auckland sites from a sample taken on 11 August.
We are expecting further results late today from some samples taken around the Auckland region with additional results expected tomorrow from other Auckland sites, as well as the results of samples taken from several locations in the Coromandel and Thames district.
Wastewater testing at the new sites announced on Monday (Whangarei, Gisborne, Tauranga, Mt Maunganui, Taupo, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Nelson, Dunedin and Invercargill) will increase from once a week to twice a week.
Sampling undertaken on Monday and Tuesday at Mt Maunganui, Tauranga, Hamilton, Rotorua, Gisborne, Taupo, New Plymouth, Napier, Porirua, Hutt Valley, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Queenstown and Invercargill have all come back negative.
Our advice remains the same - please get tested if you have visited a location of interest or have cold and flu symptoms.
Yesterday testing centres in Auckland had their busiest day since August last year. Almost 16,000 community tests were performed across Auckland yesterday, with more than 6,000 at community testing centres and around 10,000 at general practice and urgent care clinics.
There are 10 community testing centres available for testing across Auckland today including four new pop-up community testing centres yesterday at Narrow Neck, St Lukes, Wairau Valley and Albany.
All community testing centres in Auckland are continuing to operate extended hours and will remain open until 8pm today.
Another pop-up testing centre will open in Lloyd Elsmore Park in Pakuranga this afternoon, once confirmed these details will be available on the Auckland Regional Public Health website.
For up-to-date information on testing locations in Auckland, visit www.arphs.health.nz/
covid19test. For information on testing locations in Coromandel visit https://www.waikatodhb.health. nz/your-health/covid-19-in-. For up-to-date info on all testing locations, visit www.healthpoint.co.nz/covid- waikato/cbac/ 19/
The total number of COVID-19 tests processed by laboratories to date is 2,584,336.
Yesterday, 12,885 tests were processed across New Zealand.
The seven-day rolling average is 5,966.
A Section 70 has been issued for household contacts of a person who has been at a NZ location of interest. This is for the purpose of preventing further outbreak or spread of COVID-19, which is considered to be a significant risk to the public.
The direction applies to any person who is a household contact of a person who has attended the locations of interest at the times and dates as set out in Schedule 1 or who has been classified as a contact.
These people are required to isolate or quarantine at their usual place of residence (which for visitors, includes accommodation), except as required to report and submit for testing, until the person who has been at a location of interest has received a negative day five test or until after an earlier negative test if contact between the two people has ceased.
There is a separate Section 70 notice that applies to household contacts of those who have been at locations of interest. They are required to isolate until the household member has returned a negative day-five test result.
It is very important that essential workers regularly check the locations of interest so they can isolate immediately if they have been at any of these locations at the relevant time(s).
Failure or refusal to comply with this direction is an offence under s 72 of the Health Act 1956.
More than 2.61 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to date (to 11.59pm on 18 August). Of these, 1.65 million are first doses and 954,000 are second doses.
Nearly 144,000 Mâori have received their first vaccination. Of these, nearly 88,000 have also had their second vaccinations.
More than 96,000 doses have been administered to Pacific peoples. Of these, around 60,000 have also received their second doses.
NZ COVID Tracer
NZ COVID Tracer now has 2,948,521 registered users.
Poster scans have reached 325,835,903 and users have created 13,242,050 manual diary entries.
There have been 758,658 scans in the 24 hours to midday yesterday.