11 Oct 2021

Covid-19: PM Jacinda Ardern says Katikati case, family return negative result

10:17 am on 11 October 2021

The positive case identified in Katikati in Bay of Plenty at the weekend has been retested and the result has come back negative, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

-POOL- Photo by Mark Mitchell: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arriving during the the post-Cabinet press conference with director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield at Parliament, Wellington. 04 October, 2021.  NZ Herald photograph by Mark Mitchell

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Photo: POOL / NZME

The Bay of Plenty town of Katikati has been on high alert after a person tested positive on Saturday for Covid-19.

Ardern said the person had a high CT count, meaning could be an early infection, a false positive or a historical case.

"That person was retested because of that, and we had that result in last night as a negative."

All their family members have also returned negative results.

Ardern told Morning Report that despite the negative result vaccination and testing rates still needed to remain high.

"This is our message across all of New Zealand this Delta outbreak is not just an issue for Auckland."

Western Bay of Plenty Mayor Garry Webber told Morning Report the scare had been a reminder that vaccinations were the only way to get ahead of the pandemic.

Yesterday about 300 people went through the vaccination centre set up after the positive case, he said.

"This thing could knock on our door at any time, and if you get symptoms go and get tested - but more important go and get vaccinated."

Covid-19 strategy

Ardern said she was "absolutely" continuing with the elimination strategy outside Auckland, and to stamping out cases in the Auckland region even if they could not get it to zero.

"Right now we have the ability to those other areas, when we know how it has got in there for instance, to drive it right down to zero and then the ability, if we're able to, to move back to for instance level 2 environments.

"That's exactly what we're working to do in Northland, where we've had a case move through, in the Waikato.

"In Auckland, what we are doing today is no different to day one of this outbreak. We continue to work really hard to aggressively stamp out every case we have.

"That doesn't mean we'll get to zero though."

Auckland didn't have enough people vaccinated where this becomes a "massive uncontrolled outbreak".

"We haven't got to zero and usually that's what we would have experienced in the past.

"But Delta is very difficult.

"It isn't changing the fact that we are being very, very aggressive. We continue to use level 3 to assist us, but we need to use that time to vaccinate."

"Vaccines are already making a difference to the number of cases we have now - up to 50 percent reduction in what we otherwise might have seen."

Ardern cited Denmark as an example which had very high vaccination rates and intensive care rates "in the 20s".

Alert level updates

Ardern will give an update this afternoon on how testing, mask use and vaccinations will be used in schools, which Cabinet will be considering today, along with any alert level changes.

Ardern would not comment on the possibility of mandatory vaccination for teachers. "What I can say is that very top of mind for Cabinet, many of whom are are parents also ... is what reduces risk, what increases confidence and ultimately looks after our kids."

The government has not to date considered putting Auckland back into level 4, she said, but "we will constantly assess the outbreak".

"It's not a particularly sustainable long-term place to hold people because it relies for success on very high levels of compliance." She did not think Auckland went down to level 3 too soon.

Ardern said there had been no decision on whether vaccination certificates would be used for hospitality venues, she said.

New South Wales

Ardern said she would not attach a target of opening up to a percentage of fully vaccinated people as New South Wales has done.

The Australian state began easing restrictions on gatherings and hospitality today, now the state has hit 70 percent of the eligible population fully vaccinated.

"How the outbreak is evolving needs to be considered as well, and 70 percent of the eligible population isn't a large part of the total population and tells you nothing about the spread in local areas," Ardern said.

"We're being a bit more particular because ultimately people don't want to have to use aggressive restrictions consistently."

Ardern reiterated the vaccine was brought in as soon as possible and there were talks with Pfizer before the company had finished their trials.

"There's been misrepresentation of that for a number of weeks which unfortunately just dips into the space of the political."

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