Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: Cases still to peak, exposure sites to top 500, new quarantine facility stood up

KEY POINTS:

  • Numbers in outbreak expected to peak today and Friday2nd quarantine facility to be set up in AucklandCovid-19 modeller predicts Auckland will stay in Level 4 for weeks

New Zealand is bracing for the worst number of infections so far this outbreak, as potential exposure sites mount and a warning the first wave’s peak will hit in the next 48 hours.

It comes as a second quarantine facility is due to open in Auckland to place the ballooning number of infected people needing to be isolated from families and outbreak models show a need to keep the city in lockdown for weeks to curb spread.

And a secondary school rugby game at South Auckland’s De La Salle College is now a potential exposure site for Covid-19.

Everyone who watched or took part in the sporting clash that took place at the Mangere school on Saturday, August 14, is considered a close contact and asked to isolate for 14 days.

There are 494 exposure events involving 364 locations on the Ministry of Health’s locations of interest.

Another West Auckland supermarket has been added to the updated locations of interest. Shoppers who visited theCountdown Westgate Shopping Centre in Massey on Thursday August 19 and Saturday August 21 are asked to self-isolate.

There are currently 210 cases of Covid in this current outbreak spread across two main cities. There are 198 people infected in Auckland and 12 in Wellington.

Yesterday saw the largest single-day tally, with 62 new cases. A dozen people are being treated for the infection in hospital, but none are in ICU.

The Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield today warned there would be a “decent number” of new Covid cases this afternoon with a likely peak today and tomorrow.

“We’re still getting cases from people who were infected before the lockdown, and then there are a large number of cases we’re seeing because of a very big number of exposure events… coming in from people who have been infected subsequent to the lockdown who are household contacts, or other contacts,” Bloomfield told Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking.

“And that’s what’s causing the numbers to keep going up… and because it’s Delta and it spreads much more.”

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He told TVNZ public health officials now expected to only see new cases linked to the current Auckland cluster.

So far six epidemiologically-linked subclusters have been identified within the outbreak. The largest cluster associated with the AOG church in Mangere is sitting at 105 cases and the Birkdale Social Network cluster associated with the very first case is at 36 infected people.

It comes as the number of potential exposure sites swell to nearly 500.

Last night the 10th Auckland school was added to the growing list, with Otahuhu College listed.

Another fashion shop at a busy North Shore mall was added along with a fruit and vegetable store in South Auckland.

Bloomfield this morning revealed arond 200 beds could be made available at a second quarantine facility in Auckland.

If the situation continued to worse there were still options for people to quarantine elsewhere in New Zealand in facilities in Wellington and Christchurch.

Meanwhile the country’s top health official this morning apologised after saline-diluted doses were administered to five people instead of the full-strength Pfizer vaccine in Auckland last month.

It came as fresh concerns emerged of a similar incident happening at a Christchurch vaccination centre.

“I’m sorry that incident happened but we did want to tell people what the options were,” he said.

Everyone who got vaccinated on July 12 would either get an email today or letter couriered to them to explain the situation and outline options. Those in the group who hadn’t received a second dose would now be expedited, he said.

Bloomfield, who did not have details about the Christchurch situation, said it took seven weeks to reveal the Auckland incident as there had been a lot of discussion about who was vaccinated and what happened.

They had then sought advice from their technical advisory group.It was only in the last month thatevidence had emerged about getting a third dose. “We wanted to be in a position to tell them everything we could.

Auckland University Covid-19 modeller Professor Shaun Hendy said he expected Auckland to stay in Level 4 lockdown for “multiple weeks”.

“We will be looking to get back to zero cases. The first good signs will be when we see those numbers come down,” Hendy told TVNZ.

He said there was hope the number of cases would start to drop from next week.

Meanwhile Bloomfield revealed work was under way to look at what an internal boundary between Auckland and the rest of the country would look like, what travel would be permitted across the boundary and how it would be enforced.

Hendy agreed a north-south divide would make sense.

“I think at this stage, a North Island and South Island split is probably what we’d be looking at.”

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