Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Latest case numbers revealed as outbreak spreads to Kawhia

Another Covid case has been confirmed – this time in Cambridge.

A pop-up testing centre is being arranged at Lake Karapiro.

Waipa Deputy Mayor Liz Stolwyk said she had been asked to turn Might River Domain, where rowing regattas are held, into a testing station this morning.

As for whether there was a positive case in the town, she said she had been told to wait until the announcement by officials at 1pm.

The latest case numbers are to be revealed at 1pm amid news Auckland’s outbreak has spread further south to Kawhia.

Auckland today enters day 50 of lockdown restrictions, which were slightly eased overnight.

This morning it was reported a person tested positive for Covid-19 in Kawhia, which is currently the country’s least vaccinated area and is outside the Waikato level 3 boundary.

Ōtorohanga district Mayor Max Baxter confirmed he had been informed of the positive case this morning.

The Herald understands the Kawhia case is a close contact of the Hamilton East case.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and director of public health Dr Caroline McElnay will be fronting the 1pm update, where they are also expected to face questions over the outbreak response and testing measures.

It comes as Aucklanders enjoyed a loosening of restrictions, allowing people to see friends and family while socially distanced outdoors – as long as people stayed in groups of 10 and no more than two household bubbles.

The Government has also faced criticism over its preparedness for this Delta outbreak, which experts says has thrived in the “perfect storm” of New Zealand’s housing crisis and high poverty rates and followed a similar pattern to the outbreak in Sydney.

On Monday, 24 new cases were announced, including 18 in Auckland and six in Waikato.

Seven cases were unlinked and eight of the previous day’s cases were unlinked. All Waikato cases were linked.

It was estimated there would be an additional 48 cases in the coming days because of the number of contacts to already-confirmed cases.

The Kawhia township is south of Raglan Harbour, Ruapuke and Aotea Harbour, about 40km southwest of Hamilton.

The Ōtorohanga District is at the bottom of the Herald’s Top Towns table for percentage of people fully vaccinated – at just 32.9 per cent of the eligible population.

It also emerged this morning that there are three new Covid exposure events identified in Raglan – two at a local sushi shop and the third at a laundromat.

The Aroha Sushi shop, in Wallis St in Raglan, has been connected to a positive case or cases three times in the last week.

The first visit was last week on Wednesday, between 8am and 2pm.

The second visit was on Friday (October 1) between 8am and 5.15pm.

The third link to the shop is also on that Friday between 3.15pm and 4.15pm.

Anyone who has been to the sushi establishment is being told: “Self-isolate for 14 days after you were exposed at this location of interest.”

People are also told to get tested for Covid-19 immediately and to record their visit on the Ministry of Health website.

Meanwhile Aucklanders have been out and about since early this morning following minor loosening of level 3 Delta rules.

That includes numerous boaties finally firing up their boats for fishing trips off Auckland’s coastline after a nationwide level 4 lockdown was brought in on August 18.

The Herald also spotted this morning several groups of swimmers taking to the water around the harbour.

Auckland still remains in level 3. Areas of the Waikato are also in level 3, while the rest of the country is in level 2.

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has reinforced that those mingling between extended bubbles had to do it outdoors and hosts were not to allow visitors inside to use bathrooms.

From today those in the locked down Auckland region have been able to extend their bubbles slightly; with gatherings of up to 10 people – from a maximum of two bubbles – able to meet outside.

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