Case numbers have risen today with some unlinked cases causing concern; military staff challenge a vaccine directive, nurses are anxious over policing hospital visitors and eight more deaths in NSW.
- 23 new community cases, all in Auckland
- 19 people are in hospital, with four in ICU or HDU
- Total cases in current outbreak - 902
- 289 people have recovered
- One new case at border
- 15,241 tests were carried out yesterday
- 64,775 vaccines were administered
- 61 people have been charged with breaching Auckland lockdown
The new infections announced were up from the 11 cases detected a day earlier.
"This does serve as a strong reminder of the importance of following the Covid-19 alert level rules wherever you are, and to get tested if you have any symptoms or have been at a location of interest at the specified times," the Ministry for Health said in a statement.
36 cases not linked
There are now 36 cases that have so far not been linked to the current outbreak.
Officials have not been able to find a link with a woman who went to the emergency department at Middlemore Hospital on Wednesday for an issue unrelated to Covid-19 and later tested positive.
Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield yesterday said the Middlemore Hospital case - and another at the hospital - were being investigated very thoroughly, along with a few other unlinked cases.
Epidemiologist Michael Baker has warned that health officials will be reluctant to move Auckland down alert levels next week if the country records many more unexplained cases.
He said the case increase today isn't too much of a concern because the overall trend is still downwards.
But officials will be looking out for further unexpected cases.
"That would suggest that there are chains of transmission out there that are still carrying on that we haven't fully extinguished at alert level four."
New cases connected to Middlemore Hospital
Ministry of Health issued a statement about 8.30pm saying three people who have visited the hospital in recent days have since tested positive for Covid-19.
They include a woman who presented to the Birthing and Assessment Unit on Wednesday. She was not symptomatic at the time but developed symptoms the following day, was tested, and returned a positive result. She has since moved to managed isolation.
Counties Manukau DHB said work is underway to determine how people may be deemed to be contacts.
A parent and a five-month-old baby who visited the children's emergency department yesterday morning have also since tested positive. The child had symptoms at the time, so was managed under the hospital's "Covid pathways" - a system in place for all suspected patients. Part of the process includes being tested.
The parent and child are under the management of Auckland Regional Public Health Service, which is investigating five potential contacts associated with the two cases, the dhb said.
Nurses unhappy about policing visitors
Auckland City Hospital nurses want increased resources to manage visitor numbers and Covid-19 restrictions within the wards.
Under alert level 4 the DHB was allowing two people per patient but that has changed to just one person for a maximum of two hours.
A Nurses Organisation health and safety delegate Ben Basevi says the nurses are trying to manage people while caring for patients in their PPE.
Basevi says they need security guards inside the ward to take the pressure off nurses who are already short staffed and anxious.
Legal action over vaccine directive
Twelve military personnel are launching a legal challenge to the directive that would see them discharged for declining a Covid-19 vaccination.
The group has filed an application for a judicial review of the directive.
A statement from their barrister Christopher Briggs said the group's application was founded on the claim that the chief of defence force must follow a statutory process before taking action against personnel.
The directive was unlawful and breached the group's right to refuse medical treatment under the Bill of Rights Act, he said.
A Defence Force spokesperson said as the matter was before the courts it could not comment.
MIQ worker tests positive
An MIQ worker at the Holiday Inn facility in Auckland has tested positive for Covid-19 during routine testing.
The case was discovered on Monday and an investigation is underway to find the source of the infection.
The Ministry of Health says there is no clear evidence that transmission happened within the facility.
It says the worker is fully vaccinated and has been regularly tested.
They are now isolating in a quarantine facility.
Upward trend continues in NSW, Victoria
New South Wales recorded 1599 locally acquired Covid-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm yesterday.
There were eight Covid-19 deaths in the reporting period.
All of those who died were unvaccinated and had underlying health conditions, including a man in his 30s who died at his home in western Sydney.
There are currently 1164 Covid-19 cases in hospital, with 221 people in intensive care, 94 of whom require ventilation.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has attracted plenty of criticism since announcing yesterday that she would no longer appear at daily Covid-19 conferences, with one mayor descibing it as "an insult to the community".
Meanwhile, Victoria announced 450 new cases with concern growing over the spread of Delta in Melbourne's north and west.
Queensland announced five new cases with authorities saying it was possible a snap lockdown would be needed to deal with its current outbreak.
- RNZ / ABC