14 Sep 2021

Covid-19 update: 15 new cases in the community

2:04 pm on 14 September 2021

There are 15 new cases of Covid-19 in the community, the Ministry of Health has announced.

An employee wearing protective clothing does testings for the coronavirus at a laboratory as the spread of the disease continues, in Arkhangelsk, Russia.

Photo: AFP

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says there are no unlinked cases today.

The one case from yesterday that was not linked to the outbreak, has now been linked, Dr Bloomfield said.

He said 10 cases in the outbreak are yet to be epidemiologically linked.

Bloomfield says the focus for testing is in the following suburbs - Massey, Māngere, Favona, Papatoetoe, Manurewa and Ōtara.

Anyone with cold and flu symptoms is urged to get a test.

He says families with children are urged to get tested together.

So far this month, 15,685 essential workers in the Auckland region have been tested with no positive cases identified.

"On contact tracing we're now focusing our efforts on 1242 contacts that are under active management. This is a change to the reporting total context for the whole outbreak. The number of contacts under active management is now down to a much smaller number as ... majority of our contacts have now either returned negative tests or have had exposures more than 18 days ago and we're not generating significant numbers of new contacts outside of households."

"There was a positive wastewater result received from a sample taken last week in Pukekohe."

Bloomfield says Public Health has advised there were four cases in the area who were in quarantine but have now returned home. "This could explain the result. But anyone in the Pukekohe area, who has symptoms, please go and get tested."

There are no other "unexpected detections" in wastewater samples in Auckland or around the country that have returned positive results.

On random surveillance testing at supermarkets, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the government has considered the option in case "you want to do a lot of surveillance testing very quickly at sites where you haven't had ongoing testing".

The health team has advised that "in the current environment testing stations have established for symptomatic and their asymptomatic plans are still reaching into those communities at high rates".

"But we continue to say let's consider everything and certainly supermarkets have been on our agenda for something that should be considered."

Bloomfield says testing is not done at random, but specific suburbs have been identified for it.

In Auckland, Bloomfield says health teams were "using the mobile testing teams to get out and particularly into those suburbs where they are looking to do the surveillance testing".

On funding proven Covid-19 drugs, Blomfield says Pharmac and Medsafe were looking if there are effective medications that can be funded.

"I do know that there is a medication that was approved in the UK a couple of weeks ago and an application is with Medsafe that was put in quickly and is going through their process at the moment."

On support for those who have tested positive for Covid-19, Bloomfield says "having Covid-19 is often people are unwell but also there is still that sort of a little bit of stigma and other things that can go around it. I know that our public health teams do keep in contact with and provide support too for individuals who are discharged for example back out of quarantine and in the community. There is that opportunity to ask and have questions answered and just make sure that those people are getting the support they need as they reintegrate back into community".

Yesterday, the ministry reported 33 new community cases of Covid-19.

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