21 Oct 2021

Covid-19 briefing: 'We are finding most of the cases out there' - Bloomfield

3:12 pm on 21 October 2021

Aotearoa is still in a strong position to battle Covid-19 despite a record number of new community cases today, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson says.

Robertson and Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield have revealed the latest on government's response to the Delta outbreak.

Watch the briefing here:

There were 102 community cases reported today, the first time the number of new cases has reached triple figures.

Dr Bloomfield said on the current trajectory there could be up to 180 cases a day within two to three weeks. The number of these cases that ended up in hospital would depend on how many have been vaccinated, he said.

The latest modelling showed there were not a large amount of undetected cases, and the numbers being found were what would be expected, he said.

"Our sense at the moment is we are finding most of the cases out there."

Robertson said watching the ups and downs of the daily numbers could be a "bit of an emotional rollercoaster".

"We can expect to see case numbers rise. We do still want to keep them under control and we are working hard to do that and we thank Aucklanders in their cooperation in doing so. While keeping a lid on case numbers is important to reducing hospital admissions and reducing pressure on our health system, case numbers in and of themselves are not the only measure we need to use to assess the severity of the outbreak."

It was estimated that in future 90 percent of Covid-19 cases would be able to be treated at home, but the vaccine remained the key to keeping people and communities safe, he said.

"We are in a strong position but we do need to build on that and see more people vaccinated."

RNZ reported today an Auckland emergency nurse saying overworked nurses feared hospitals were not ready for the Covid-19 tsunami - and often though about quitting.

Health Minister Andrew Little said anyone with Covid-19 in New Zealand would be cared for and about 14,000 extra nurses had now been trained to work in an intensive care unit. More workers would be joining the system in about a month after MIQ rooms were put aside for them to enter the country.

Dr Bloomfield said authorities would not let New Zealand's hospitals get to a position where they were overwhelmed.

Robertson said there was a difference between how pressure is managed in the system and whether or not it is manageable.

"And we do believe that it is manageable but as we get to a greater number of cases, particularly a greater number of hospitalisations, then hospitals have to start managing their resources and that is the process that they've been planning for, for some time."

Asked if the rise in cases today will lead to a change in the decision to allow year 11 to 13 students back to school in Auckland on Tuesday, Dr Bloomfield said further advice would be offered to the government on this over the weekend.

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