New Zealand has reported 21 new community cases of covid-19 today – 20 in Auckland and one in Wellington.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins gave the latest covid-19 update.
Dr Bloomfield said there were now a total of 72 cases associated with the Auckland outbreak.
The Wellington case was first reported yesterday but is included in the national tally today. There are now six confirmed cases in Wellington
Dr Bloomfield said there were 8677 contacts that had been formally identified and virtually all of those were considered “close contacts”.
“The number of contacts has increased significantly, something we had expected as we identify more cases and locations of interest. As of 9am this morning, 8667 individual contacts had been formally identified and we expect that will continue to increase through the day as further records are fully processed,” he said.
“From today, contacts who are self-isolating can choose to send their daily health and wellbeing information via an electronic survey, that is email, rather than phone call daily. These people are all initially contacted by phone and if they opt to go for email welfare checks they can do so, which helps free up capacity in our contact tracing teams and further speed up the process.”
Samoan church linked cases
Dr Bloomfield said several new cases were linked to a service at the Samoan Assembly of God church last Sunday. Those who attended and who had not yet been tested were being asked to.
From today new locations of interest will be published on the Ministry of Health website every two hours. Significant or urgent locations will be published immediately.
New Zealand’s Crown Research Institute ESR is now testing wastewater from 14 sites.
There have been positive results in Auckland and Wellington. The positive result in Wellington was from Moa Point and other Wellington locations were negative.
Hipkins said yesterday was a record day for weekend vaccinations with more than 50,000 doses administered.
Hipkins said more than a million New Zealanders were now vaccinated and 73 percent of New Zealanders over the age of 40 were either vaccinated or booked in to get the jab.
Another 382,500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will arrive in New Zealand tomorrow, Hipkins said.
‘Excellent’ PPE stocks
Dr Bloomfield said the health system had “excellent” PPE stocks to deal with this outbreak, with national PPE supply chain holding 18 million n95 masks, 285 million medical masks, 18 million isolation gowns, 1.6 million face shields and 280 million nitrile gloves.
Earlier today, Dr Bloomfield got the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the Pipitea Marae vaccination centre in Wellington which had just been stood up because it allowed for greater capacity and social distancing.
Dr Bloomfield was just one of the more than 500 doses they were giving out today at that centre alone.
He said he barely felt it.
“Feeling great actually. It’s really nice to have got to this point,” he said.
“I’ve been talking about the vaccine for months. My age group came online just a couple of weeks ago, so I used ‘Book My Vaccine’ last Sunday and was able to get a slot today.”
Yesterday, 21 new community cases of covid-19 were announced.
Pukekohe High School staff link
Meanwhile, a staff member at Pukekohe High School has tested positive for covid-19, meaning seven Auckland schools now have confirmed cases linked to them.
The other six schools are: Western Springs College, Avondale College, Northcote College, Lynfield College, McAuley High School and De La Salle College.
After being halted at the start of lockdown, the vaccine rollout is moving up a gear with 56,843 vaccines administered yesterday – the most in a single day.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said 72 percent of New Zealanders aged 40+ were either booked or have been vaccinated with at least one dose.
A drive through mass-vaccination centre is open today in Auckland to make up for appointments pushed out due to the alert level 4 lockdown. The centre, set up at the park and ride site at Auckland Airport, will be open for a week and is expected to immunise 2000 people a day.
This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.
This content originally appeared on Asia Pacific Report and was authored by APR editor.