Covid 19 Delta outbreak: 14 new community cases and more details about virtual MIQ booking system

There are 14 new cases of Covid-19 in the community – and an “unexpected” detection of the virus in wastewater north of Auckland.

All the new cases are linked to existing cases but three people were infectious while in the community, creating 10 new exposure events, director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said.

There was an increase in testing yesterday in Auckland with 10,341 new tests completed.

A worker at the SO/Auckland managed isolation facility had tested positive to Covid as a part of regular testing, he said. The worker was fully vaccinated and is now in quarantine. The Herald first revealed the positive result this morning.

On wastewater testing, there was one “unexpected detection” of Covid from Snells Beach, north of Auckland, said the Ministry of Health. It was from September 7 – a delay due to a logistical issue – and additional testing is underway.

New MIQ booking system

Covid response Minister Chris Hipkins said the pause on new managed isolation bookings for returning Kiwis would be lifted on Monday September 20.

That was due to an easing off of demand from local community cases needing isolation rooms.

A new MIQ booking system that aimed to make it fairer and easier for returning Kiwis to book managed isolation rooms was also due to be launched, Hipkins said.

Details on how the new lobby booking said worked would be up on government websites but it aimed to allow people wanting to book a room into a virtual lobby where they will then all have an equal opportunity to book a room, Hipkins said.

He asked travellers looking to book a room and enter the virtual lobby booking system to make sure there are flights available into New Zealand on the days they wish to book a managed isolation room.

Hipkins said managed isolation rooms have been set aside for people who need to travel urgently and this is accepted by the Government.

Spots in MIQ for overseas travellers were put on hold when the Delta outbreak in Auckland started and officials realised rooms needed to be kept free for people in the community who had caught the virus.

Only emergency vouchers have been made available to New Zealanders overseas since.

The new booking system aimed to do away with the need for people to spend hours watching the booking website, refreshing their browsers in the hope they are the first to see a new room become available, or the use of computer programs to do this automatically, he said.

Hipkins said he wasn’t sure how much demand there was currently among Kiwis overseas wanting to return home.

The new booking system was specifically designed to prevent bots – or computer programs – from automatically booking managed isolation rooms on behalf of returning Kiwis, he said.

Expectant mums urged to get jab

Bloomfield revealed that there have been cases of unvaccinated pregnant women arriving in hospital with Covid and urged expectant mums to get the jab.

“It’s timely to remind anyone in the country who is expecting a baby about the importance of getting vaccinated. We have seen some unvaccinated pregnant women arriving in hospital with Covid-19, quite unwell as a result of the virus,” Bloomfield said.

“It’s now very clear from experience globally and our experience here with a large number of pregnant people vaccinated that there are no additional safety concerns with getting the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine. It is safe in any stage in pregnancy and vaccinating during pregnancy also helps protect your baby as there is evidence that infants can get antibodies of the virus through cord blood and then once they are born through breast milk.”

New treatments for Covid-19

Bloomfield said there was huge support among doctors for the nation’s vaccine program with a petition now circulating among doctors to show their support.

He said New Zealand had a fast approval process and was keeping up to date on the latest and most effective treatments for Covid 19.

He outlined three main categories of treatments for Covid that are being used or under consideration in New Zealand.

Bloomfield said all treatments of Covid complement rather than replace vaccines.

Jabs touch down

Hipkins said 250,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine purchased from Denmark had just arrived at Auckland Airport.

He said more than 70 per cent of eligible Kiwis had now received one dose of Pfizer and 36 per cent have had two doses.

Ninety per cent of those aged over 60 have had their first dose

Hipkins said the main age group where “a lot of work” was needed to be done to boost vaccine numbers was with those under 40.

The Auckland DHBs had now vaccinated more than one million people. But by the end of this week, health teams wanted everyone in the city to have had the chance to ahve their first dose.

Along with pharmacies and more GP clinics offering vaccines, Hipkins said the vaccination buses will also hit the roads to offer jabs.

They will go to communities where vaccine rates are low or where it is difficult for people to get access to buses.

Health teams hope to operate 12 buses in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile the latest locations of interest include a petrol station in Manurewa and another shop on Dawson Rd, Clover Park.

Today’s update comes as the Ministry of Health reported 15 positive cases of Covid-19 in the community yesterday. Two people with the virus were reported on the border.

All of the community cases were household contacts and all were in Auckland.

Eight of yesterday’s positive cases have exposure events, the health ministry said.

Of the 953 people in Auckland with the virus, 382 had since recovered. Of the 17 community cases in Wellington, 12 have recovered.

Health officials said nine epidemiologically linked sub-clusters remained, with the two largest being the Māngere church group – 381 positive cases as of yesterday – and the Birkdale social network group, with 77 people with Covid.

Authorities also said nine clusters are epidemiologically unlinked.

A total of 22 people were in hospital as of yesterday’s afternoon update: four in North Shore Hospital, 10 people in Middlemore and eight at Auckland City Hospital.

Source: Read Full Article