LIVE: 49 new community cases, all in Auckland

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield.

There are 49 new cases of COVID-19 in the New Zealand community today; all in Auckland.

This brings the total number of cases in the community outbreak to 612. The total number of community cases in Auckland is now 597 and in Wellington it is 15.

One previously reported case has been reclassified as a border case.

All of the cases have or will be transferred safely to a quarantine facility, under strict infection prevention and control procedures, including the use of full PPE.

There are 566 cases that have been clearly epidemiologically-linked to another case or sub-cluster, and a further 46 for which links are yet to be fully established.

There are currently seven epidemiologically-linked subclusters identified within this outbreak. The two largest clusters are the Mangere church cluster (308 confirmed cases), and the Birkdale Social Network cluster associated with Case A (78 confirmed cases).

Of the current community cases, 33 cases are in hospital – 25 are in a stable condition on a ward and eight cases are in a stable condition in ICU. Two cases are in North Shore Hospital, 18 are in Middlemore Hospital, 12 are in Auckland City Hospital, and one is in Wellington Regional Hospital.

There are appropriate isolation and infection prevention and control plans in place at all hospitals where these patients are being managed.

The total number of active cases being managed in New Zealand is currently 651.

There is one new case in recent returnees in a managed isolation facility. The person arrived on August 25 from Nepal via UAE and tested positive on arrival during routine testing. They are in managed isolation in Christchurch.

Since January 1 2021, there have been 126 historical cases, out of a total of 1,395 cases.

The total number of confirmed NZ cases since the start of the pandemic is 3,213.

Middlemore Hospital security officer
A contract security officer on duty at Middlemore Hospital on August 26 has tested positive for COVID-19 after exposure in the community. The individual is fully vaccinated and while on duty at Middlemore was wearing full PPE, including a N95 mask. The risk of exposure to patients and staff is considered to be low. To date no staff at Counties Manukau Health have contracted COVID-19 while at work.

“Testing nationwide remains an essential part of our response to this outbreak, in particular providing confidence for understanding the extent of any spread of COVID-19,” says a Ministry of Health spokesperson.

“Our advice remains the same - wherever you are in the country, if you were at a location of interest, at the specified times, or have cold and flu symptoms, please call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on testing.”

By calling Healthline, people who have been at locations of interest at relevant times are logged into the contact tracing system. This means their swab can be tracked and processed faster by the laboratories.

Yesterday, 16,755 tests were processed across New Zealand.

Demand for testing in Auckland remains high with around 12,700 swabs taken across metro Auckland yesterday – 4,700 at community testing centres and around 8,000 at general practice and urgent care clinics.

There are 24 community testing centres available for testing across Auckland today, this includes six regular community testing centres, 14 pop-up testing centres and four invitation-only for high-risk groups and to prioritise essential health care workers.

The pop-up community testing centre at Parakai is closed today due to flooding in the area. Anyone who presents for testing at this site is being diverted to the local medical centre.

The storm also impacted the two drive-through vaccination sites at Trusts Arena in Henderson and Airport Park and Ride which were closed until 11am this morning. We have been working with those who have been impacted to reschedule their appointments.

Wiri and Balmoral testing centres are operating extending hours this week and will stay open until 8pm to supplement existing testing in Urgent Care Clinics.

For up-to-date information on all testing locations, please visit the Healthpoint website.

The total number of COVID-19 tests processed by laboratories to date is 2,984,428.

The seven-day rolling average is 31, 600.

There are no unexpected results to report today.

Following detection in samples collected from the Christchurch wastewater treatment facility on August 21, 23 and 25, consistent with known cases in MIQ facilities, additional sampling from Christchurch locations was undertaken.

COVID-19 was not detected in wastewater grab samples collected from seven pump station sites on August 26 and 29 2021.

Processing of samples collected on August 30 is in progress. This includes samples collected from the Wastewater Testing Plant. The results of these are expected tomorrow.

Contact tracing
As of 9am today, 34,413 individual contacts have been identified and around 89 per cent have had a test.

Locations of interest
Additional locations of interest continue to be identified. As of 9am today, there were 389 locations of interest.

“Please remember to regularly check the Ministry’s website,” says a Ministry of Health spokesperson. “Locations are being automatically updated on a two-hourly basis between 8am and 8pm.

"If you have been to a location of interest during the relevant time, follow the advice on the website which will tell you whether you need to self-isolate and call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on testing, or whether you just need to watch for symptoms.”

However, anyone who develops symptoms whether or not they have been at a listed location of interest, should ring Healthline for advice on testing.

COVID-19 vaccine update
Yesterday 76,354 vaccines were administered. Of these 53,032 were first doses and 23,322 were second doses.

More than 3.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to date.

Of these, over 2.2 million are first doses and more than 1.18 million are second doses.

More than 202,000 Māori have received their first vaccination. Of these, more than 106,000 have also had their second vaccinations.

More than 131,000 doses first doses have been administered to Pacific peoples. Of these, more than 72,000 have also received their second doses.

NZ COVID Tracer now has 3,113,109 registered users.

Poster scans have reached 333,463,750 and users have created 14,921,893 manual diary entries.

“There have been 603,571 scans in the 24 hours to midday yesterday; thanks to all those people who are scanning regularly when they are visiting essential services,” says a Ministry of Health spokesperson.

Today is a day many people have been waiting for, a shift in alert levels.

While most of New Zealand will move from Level 4 to 3 at 11.59pm tonight, Auckland and Northland will remain in level 4.

Northland's lockdown will be reviewed later this week, while Auckland will remain where it is until at least Tuesday next week.

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