13 Sep 2021

Auckland needs to stay in level 4 for at least one more week - Baker

7:01 pm on 13 September 2021

Today's Covid-19 numbers support the argument for Auckland staying at alert level 4 for at least another week, Otago University epidemiologist professor Michael Baker says.

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Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Ministry of Health has confirmed there are 33 new cases of Covid-19 in the community - all in Auckland.

Professor Baker, who is a member of the Covid-19 technical advisory group, wants to see a consistent decline in numbers to single digits ahead of any alert level shift.

Today's figures indicated there could still be lines of transmission health authorities did not know about yet, he said.

"So some of these cases in the community could spark up or flare up as outbreaks or clusters and that is not what we want to see at the moment."

There was already concern about the situation in Auckland before today's numbers, he said.

"And that is not as much just the numbers but the fact we're still seeing each day unexpected cases and that is just as important as the total."

Any lowering of the alert level in Auckland would take the pressure off the virus and risk undoing all the good work the city had already done to suppress the virus, Baker said.

The numbers were also bad news for anybody outside Auckland hoping to go down to alert level 1.

Auckland's problem was New Zealand's problem, Baker said.

"All of New Zealand is connected to Auckland and it's hard I think for the rest of New Zealand to move down alert levels while Auckland still has ongoing transmission."

The rest of the country could start thinking about moving to level 1 once Auckland moved to alert level 3, he said.

All of the new community cases today are in Auckland. Of the 33 cases reported, 32 were epidemiologically linked.

The one case yet to be linked was a person who presented to Middlemore Hospital on Saturday.

There were seven other cases in their household, all of which were included in today's 33 cases.

Ministry of Health also said there were 21 Covid-19 patients in hospital, including four in ICU.

On another note, the ministry states 4,325,490 doses of the vaccine have been administered in total to date. Of those, 2,862,765 are first doses and 1,462,725 are second doses.

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