20 Aug 2021

Covid-19 update: 11 new cases in the community, including three in Wellington

1:53 pm on 20 August 2021

There have been 11 new cases of Covid-19 reported in the community this afternoon, including three in Wellington, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.

A deserted central Wellington during the August 2021 lockdown.

A deserted central Wellington during the August 2021 lockdown. Photo: AFP

In a statement, the Health Ministry said there were now 31 cases associated with the current Auckland community outbreak.

"All 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."

The ministry said the three in Wellington had recently travelled to Auckland and visited a location of interest there.

The 11 new community cases reported today include three separate cases which were in family bubbles with previously reported cases, while two of today's cases are also in a family bubble together.

"Public health officials are currently conducting interviews to establish how the new cases were infected and to determine further details of their movements. We will continue to release this information as it becomes available."

It also said the international Air New Zealand crew member reported yesterday has now been confirmed as a border-related case, and not linked to the Auckland outbreak, based on the results of whole genome sequencing.

The ministry said there were also two new cases in managed isolation.

It said almost 1200 individual contacts of the community cases had been identified, excluding contacts from large settings, such as Avondale College and the Central Auckland Church of Christ, which were still being assessed.

"Most of these contacts are in the Auckland and Waikato regions, with a proportion located in other areas throughout the rest of North Island and South Island. As of 9am today, 642 contacts were in the Auckland and Waikato regions, 149 contacts were located throughout the rest of New Zealand, and the location of the remaining contacts is still being confirmed.

"The total number of contacts across the country is expected to increase as more locations of interest are identified."

There were 27,899 tests processed across New Zealand yesterday.

The ministry said testing centres in Auckland had their busiest day ever, by more than 50 percent.

"More than 24,000 community tests were performed across Auckland yesterday, with more than 8000 at community testing centres and around 16,000 at general practice and urgent care clinics. Police are helping to manage traffic flows at sites.

"There are 13 community testing centres  available for testing across Auckland today, including seven pop-up community testing centres at Narrow Neck, St Lukes, Wairau Valley, St Johns, Albany, Mângere East, and Pakuranga Heights. There is additional dedicated testing for Avondale College staff, students and whânau, who are considered to be close contacts."

About 2600 swabs have also been taken from Auckland City Hospital staff and all have been negative so far, after a fully vaccinated staff member worked there while unknowingly potentially infectious.

Earlier today North Shore Hospital took action after it was confirmed a patient who has now tested positive for Covid-19 was treated there. New Zealand Post also revealed a positive Covid-19 case this morning, a temporary worker at their Auckland Operations Centre in Highbrook.

The coronavirus was detected in wastewater samples collected on Wednesday from the Waitakere area in Auckland, after detection in Tuesday's sample.

"There have been no unexpected detections to report outside the Auckland region," said the Ministry.

"Testing is in progress for a number of samples, most of which will be reported later today."

Cabinet is currently meeting to decide whether the country's alert level settings should be changed or not and is expected to make an announcement at 3pm.

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