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60 new Covid-19 cases; Schools in Level 3 environments can reopen to senior students on Tuesday; 300 spots a month set aside for health workers in MIQ

60 new Covid-19 cases; Schools in Level 3 environments can reopen to senior students on Tuesday; 300 spots a month set aside for health workers in MIQ
Chris Hipkins, Ashley Bloomfield. Press Gallery pool image.

There are 60 new cases of Covid-19 in the community, including 54 in Auckland and six in Waikato.

There are 43 people in hospital, including five in intensive care. 

While new case numbers have fallen from Tuesday, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said we should expect case numbers to keep rising. 

Senior secondary students in Level 3 can return to school on Tuesday

Schools in Level 3 environments - Auckland and Waikato - can reopen on Tuesday, October 26 for students in years 11, 12 and 13. 

NCEA and scholarship exams will go ahead, but there will be some provision for students affected by Covid-19. IE they may be able to use their grades from throughout the year, rather than from their final exams. 

Students attending school at Level 3 will have to wear masks and staff need to return negative tests before attending.

Cabinet will on October 26 consider what the plan will be for younger students covering years 1 to 10. 

The Government is concerned under-12s can’t get vaccinated. 

MIQ spots for health workers

The Government will from November start setting aside 300 spots a month in managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) for health and disability workers from overseas.

Health and disability workers deemed critical to the country are currently eligible for MIQ rooms ringfenced for people with “time-sensitive” travel.

“But they are competing with others who are also in this category, and that’s making it harder for our health services to get some of the people they need,” Health Minister Andrew Little said.

He said the Ministry would work with district health boards and primary health organisations to allocate rooms. The first rooms will be allocated in late-November.

Workers who are not citizens or permanent residents will still need proof of a job in New Zealand and must meet immigration requirements.

ACT is again questioning why limited MIQ spots are being used by double-vaccinated travellers, who test negative before travelling to New Zealand, while an increasing number of Covid-19 cases are set to start isolating at home.

There are currently 101 people with Covid-19 in home isolation across 55 households in Auckland.

ACT deputy leader and health spokesperson Brooke van Velden said, “I have been in contact with a man whose wife has an essential work visa and works as a critical care nurse in ICU. She left New Zealand to spend time with her dying mother in the UK and has been unable to return through the MIQ system. It has now been three months that this essential ICU nurse has been unable to help with the COVID response in New Zealand.

“I have written to Minister for Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins asking him to let desperately needed health care workers into the country and be able to able to self-isolate. The Government should do the sensible thing here."

Hipkins said work was underway considering how to change MIQ requirements, as New Zealand contends with more Covid-19 cases. Shorter stays in MIQ are being considered. 

An update is expected early next week.

Case update from the Ministry of Health

Number of new community cases 60
Number of new cases identified at the border Two
Location of new community cases Auckland (56) Waikato (4)
Location of community cases (total) Auckland 2,085 (1,362 of whom have recovered); Waikato 56 (10 of whom have recovered); Wellington 17 (all of whom have recovered)
Number of community cases (total)* 2,158 (in current community outbreak)
Cases infectious in the community   36 of yesterday’s 92 cases have exposure events
Cases in isolation throughout the period they were infectious   56 of yesterday’s 92 cases have no exposure events
Cases epidemiologically linked 38 of today’s 60 cases
Cases to be epidemiologically linked 22 of today’s 60 cases
Cases epidemiologically linked (total) 1,957 (in the current cluster) (166 unlinked from the past 14 days)
Cases in hospital 43 (total): North Shore (7); Middlemore (13); Auckland (22); Waikato (1)
Cases in ICU or HDU Five
Confirmed cases (total)* 4,854 since pandemic began
Historical cases 171 out of 3,039 since 1 Jan 2021
Number of active contacts being managed (total): 2,100
Percentage who have received an outbound call from contact tracers (to confirm testing and isolation requirements) 83%
Percentage with at least one test result 78%
Locations of interest  
Locations of interest (total) 417 (as at 10am 20 October)
Number of tests (total) 3,816,324
Number of tests total (last 24 hours) 26,330
Tests processed in Auckland (last 24 hours) 11,692
Tests rolling average (last 7 days) 24,481
Testing centres in Auckland 19
Wastewater detections No unexpected detections. No detection reported in Hamilton  
COVID-19 vaccine update  
Vaccines administered to date (total) 6,431,194; 1st doses: 3,593,488 (85%); 2nd doses: 2,837,706 (67%)
Vaccines administered yesterday (total) 42,809; 1st doses: 10,392 2nd doses: 32,417
Mâori 1st doses: 382,141 (67%); 2nd doses: 261,711 (46%)
Pacific Peoples 1st doses: 232,211 (81%); 2nd doses: 173,482 (61%)
Vaccines administered to Auckland residents to date (total) 2,320,945: 1st doses: 1,277,098 (89%); 2nd doses: 1,043,847 (73%)
Vaccines administered to Auckland residents yesterday (total) 12,770: 1st doses: 2,799; 2nd doses: 9,971
NZ COVID Tracer  
Registered users (total) 3,309,084
Poster scans (total) 442,501,957
Manual diary entries (total) 18,613,024
Poster scans in 24 hours to midday yesterday 2,197,037

Commentary from the Ministry of Health

Auckland update

Public health officials are modifying the approach to suburban testing following an increase in cases, particularly on the North Shore and New Lynn.

As the outbreak is now more disbursed, the approach is moving away from suburbs of interest and will instead concentrate on areas with higher positivity rates where the risk of unidentified cases is higher.

People in New Lynn and the North Shore suburbs of Rosedale, Redvale, and Bayswater - either vaccinated or unvaccinated - are asked to get tested as soon as possible if they have even mild symptoms.

This testing will help to provide assurance that any undetected spread of COVID-19 in these communities is identified as quickly as possible.

Testing is available at Community Testing Centres in:
Health New Lynn, Totara Health Services, McCrae Way, New Lynn – 8.30am – 4.30pm  
North Harbour Stadium, Oteha Valley Road in Carpark B – 8.30am – 4.30pm
Northcote Community Testing Centre, Corner of College Road and Kilham Avenue – 6.30am – 6.30pm.

An additional testing site will be available from tomorrow in Wairau Valley.

Testing is also available at GP and Urgent Care clinics the locations of these can be found on

Shadbolt Park, New Lynn

New Lynn’s Shadbolt Park has been reclassified as an exposure event rather than as a location of interest and has now been taken down from the Ministry of Health website list of locations of interest.

Public Health staff have looked into the event more carefully and assessed it as an exposure event as it is small and involved only a handful of people, who have all been identified and are in the process of being traced and tested.  At this stage no one else is being sought in relation to the event.

Waikato update

There are four new cases to report today in the Waikato region. Two of the cases are in Te Awamutu, and two are contacts of known cases and are already isolating.

Investigations to determine how the other two cases are linked to the outbreak are underway. This brings the total number of cases in the Waikato to 56; 10 of whom have recovered.

Waikato DHB is continuing to carry out regionwide testing with 4,520 swabs taken yesterday. Testing locations in and around Waikato are available on the Healthpoint website and the Waikato DHB website.

Pop up testing sites are continuing to operate in Te Awamutu, Kihikihi, Raglan and Whatawhata (west of Hamilton). We are continuing to encourage anyone living in these areas who is symptomatic, to get a test.

Public health unaffected by low dose and expired vaccine cases

National Director COVID-19 Vaccination and Immunisation Programme Jo Gibbs has reported an incident in which six people received a low dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the Bay of Plenty, and an incident where a small number of people received expired vaccines in Wellington.

Those in the Bay of Plenty who were affected have been contacted and offered vaccination.

The clinical processes and systems around the administration of the vaccination are being reviewed and the District Health Board (DHB) is working with the provider to strengthen these to prevent an incident like this from happening again.

Jo Gibbs also reported an incident at a vaccination site in Wellington last week where around 15 people received a COVID-19 vaccination 24 hours after it expired. No one has been harmed from receiving the expired doses.

Capital & Coast District Health Board has contacted the affected people and is encouraging them to get vaccinated again.

The Ministry apologises for what has happened and reassures the public that such incidents are not common. Questions about the Wellington incident to the CCDHB which is working directly with the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) and those affected.

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