35 new Covid community cases - 33 in Auckland and 2 in Wellington

Aug 23, 2021

From the Ministry of Health:

There are 35 new cases of COVID-19 in the New Zealand community to confirm today. Of these 33 are in Auckland and two are in Wellington.

This brings the total number of cases in the community outbreak to 107.

All of the cases have or are being transferred safely to a managed isolation facility, under strict infection prevention and control procedures, including the use of full PPE.

As previously indicated, it’s not unexpected to see a rise in daily case numbers at this stage. At its peak last year, New Zealand had a daily total of 89 new cases.

The total number of community cases in Auckland is now 99 and Wellington’s number of community cases has increased to eight.

Of the 107 cases in the cluster, 72 are already epidemiologically linked to other community cases identified in the outbreak. Investigations are continuing to determine whether and how the remaining 35 cases are linked to the outbreak, however most have a plausible link on initial assessment. For example, people were at a location of interest. We will continue to release this information and new locations of interest as it becomes available.

ESR also continues to run whole genome sequencing on cases. Yesterday 29 samples were sequenced and all were confirmed as being linked to the Auckland outbreak.

There are three new cases in recent returnees in managed isolation facilities.

New cases identified at the border

Arrival date From   Via   Positive test day/reason   Managed isolation/quarantine location  
5 August * Belgium Full travel history to be confirmed Contact of a case Auckland
5 August * Belgium Full travel history to be confirmed Contact of a case Auckland
17 August Singapore Full travel history to be confirmed Unknown Christchurch

*These cases are in a family travel bubble

The total number of active cases being managed in New Zealand is currently 154.

Since 1 January 2021, there have been 123 historical cases, out of a total of 880 cases.

Our total number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic is 2,698.

Yesterday, 35,766 tests were processed across New Zealand.

Testing centres in Auckland had another busy day yesterday with just over 17,000 swabs taken across Auckland, with around 11,000 at community testing centres and around 6,000 at general practice and urgent care clinics. This was our biggest day to date at our community testing centres.

If you were at a location of interest, at the specified times, or have cold and flu symptoms, please call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on testing.

By calling Healthline for advice on testing, people who have been at locations of interest at relevant times are logged into the contact tracing system. This means their swab can be tracked and processed faster by the laboratories.

There are 16 community testing centres available for testing across Auckland this afternoon, including a new site at Pukekohe

More than 3,850 tests were processed yesterday for Wellington and the Hutt Valley with 11 community testing centres operating, and around 32 GPs open for testing.

District Health Boards remain focussed on meeting testing demand and standing up additional testing centres if, and when, needed.

When you go for a test, please wear a mask, scan in to the QR codes located on site and if possible take your NHI number with you. This is likely to speed up the process.

You’ll be able to find your NHI number of a hospital letter, a prescription or prescription receipt. The Ministry has also established a new 0800 number to find out - 0800 855 066.

For up-to-date information on all testing locations, please visit www.healthpoint.co.nz/covid-19/.

The total number of COVID-19 tests processed by laboratories to date is 2,727,853.

The seven-day rolling average is 23,721.

Wastewater testing
ESR is today collecting wastewater samples from sites throughout New Zealand for testing. There are no new findings to report today.

Yesterday we reported COVID-19 had continued to be detected at Moa Point in Wellington and in the Auckland region, but that samples taken from other sites in Wellington at Porirua, Seaview and Karori and now from the North Shore at Rosedale and Albany, were negative.

Samples taken on Friday and Saturday returned no other unexpected detections anywhere else in the country.

ESR continues to test wastewater at 41 sites across the country, covering 3.7 million New Zealanders. Of the 41 current sites, 13 are in Auckland and four are in Wellington. ESR is in the process of adding additional sites.

Contact tracing
Public health staff across New Zealand continue to contact trace, with a focus on higher risk locations.

The number of contacts has increased significantly. This is something we expected as we identify more cases and test in large numbers.

As of 8am today, 13,230 individual contacts have been identified – and this number will increase throughout the day, as records are fully processed.

The majority of these contacts are close contacts.

Of these contacts, 6,773 have been contacted by public health staff and are self-isolating, and 42% have had a test.

Work is underway to contact the remaining 6,457 contacts.

Locations of interest
We are continuing to add locations of interest as interviews from confirmed cases completed by public health staff.

There are now more than 280 locations of interest listed on the Ministry’s website.

Of these, 11 locations of interest are in Wellington, a few are scattered across the North Island and the rest are located in Auckland. There are also two flights between Auckland Wellington.

We will continue to update this regularly. There is now an interactive map that makes it easier to identify locations of interest, and you can also search locations.

The Ministry’s website also includes 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 at the specified time, please self-isolate and call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on testing.

Crowne Plaza investigation update
Public health officials are continuing to investigate those who used the atrium thoroughfare at the Crowne Plaza while the earliest identified case was in the lobby, as there is a possibility of air flow between the two spaces.

A total of six people walked in the open walkway while the case was in the lobby, of those four have been identified and three have tested negative and one person is in the process of getting a test. There are two people still to be identified, which Police are assisting with.

This throughfare is located inside the Crowne Plaza building and is not the outside walkway which is used to access the Huawei Centre.

It has been confirmed the case was indoors while a very small number of people walked in the open walkway, which is well ventilated.

Section 70 Notices
We’re reminding people that a Section 70 notice remains in place, placing a legal requirement on all people who were at locations of interest at the relevant times to follow the instructions regarding isolation and testing.

It is also very important that essential workers regularly check the locations of interest so they can isolate immediately and get tested if they have been at any of these locations at the relevant times.

Another Section 70 notice is in place, applying that to household members of those who have been at locations of interest or have been categorised as a close contact. These household members are required to isolate until the contact has returned a negative day-five test result.

Household members are not required to be tested unless they develop symptoms.

The requirements of this second notice do not apply to people who are required to provide an essential health service as long as they are vaccinated, the household member who visited the location of interest has had a negative result, and no one in the house has symptoms.

COVID-19 vaccine update  
Yesterday, we administered 35,800 doses nationally. This was made up of 26,835 first doses, and 8,965 second doses.

More than 2.78 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to date (to 11.59pm on 22 August).  

Of these, 1.77 million are first doses and more than one million are second doses.

More than 156,000 Mâori have received their first vaccination. Of these, more than 92,000 have also had their second vaccinations.

More than 103,000 doses have been administered to Pacific peoples. Of these, more than 63,000 have also received their second doses.

NZ COVID Tracer now has 3,026,123 registered users.

Poster scans have reached 327,988,169 and users have created 13,896,382 manual diary entries.

There have been 477,029 scans in the 24 hours to midday yesterday.

“It’s really pleasing to see we’ve hit three million users on the NZ COVID Tracer App. Thank you to everyone who has become a user of the app and to those who continue to scan QR codes to keep a record of where they’ve been.

"Over the past week we’ve seen how important these records have become – making it easier for contact tracers as we all work to keep New Zealanders safe from COVID-19,” says Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

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