There are 34 new cases of Covid in the community and two cases in MIQ. Video: NZ Herald
A Bay of Plenty mayor has described the moment he found out that a positive Delta case had been discovered in his district.
Western Bay Mayor of Plenty, Garry Webber, said the health department called him about half an hour before the news broke Saturday night and his first reaction was “oh s ***”.
And tonight, Tauranga MP Simon Bridges tweeted: “Regarding seeing a BOP case. I have two concerns with the announcement. Considering I have cases where people are not allowed to leave Auck to see dying family, how to get move approval? & why was this not announced earlier? 18.17 seems to be designed to miss the news at 18. “
The positive case has resided in Pukekohe, but has been in the process of moving house to Katikati – and had crossed the border into the Bay of Plenty, with one exception, as part of the move.
“That’s what it is,” Webber said. “It’s the last thing any district wants, let alone our district. Nobody wants it in their backyard … it’s here.”
Webber said the boundaries around Level 3 areas were “pretty leaky”.
He would “reluctantly” support a move to level 3, but said the decision was in the hands of the government.
“We want to go with the flow. If this is in our society, then this is what we need to do.”
He understood that the person had used the tracking app.
His message to the Katikati community was, “If in doubt, take a test, but go without vaccination.”
Pop-up test sites open Sunday in the Western Bay of Plenty at:
* Katikati Medical Center, 4 Clive Road, 8.30-16.30
* Katikati Rugby and Sports Clubrooms, Fairview Rd, Katikati 8.30-16.30 (hours extended if there is high demand)
* Tauranga Accident and HealthCare, 19 Second Avenue, 8.00-18.00
Nearly half of Katikati residents are fully vaccinated, according to the Ministry of Health’s suburban data. 49.5 have two doses and 77.5 percent have one.
The Ministry of Health announced the new case tonight.
The person lives in Pukekohe and is in the process of moving to a rural area north of Katikati.
The test was taken yesterday in Auckland.
The test result has a high CT value that is usually seen in the early or late stage of infection and is under further investigation, including a repeat test, the ministry said in a statement.
The infected person has been given an exemption to cross the border in and out of Auckland as he was about to change houses.
As part of this, the person has had regular monitoring tests – at least five tests have been taken since the beginning of September, the most recent prior test was 5 October. All five of these tests were negative.
The person who returned the positive result is fully vaccinated and has not reported symptoms other than seasonal hay fever.
The ministry said the person is a consistent user of the Covid tracking app, and initial information has identified sites of interest in Katikati and Pukekohe, with details to follow.
All family members have been contacted and are currently isolating, with results from tests expected tomorrow.
The current public health assessment is that the risk appears low considering the person’s vaccine.
There are 34 new cases of Covid in the community, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there is no evidence that the case that sent Northland to level 3 is linked to Mongrel Mob.
Of the new Community cases, 31 are in Auckland and three in Waikato – all cases in Waikato are linked, while 11 cases in Auckland are not yet linked. There are five active sub-clusters that are not epidemiologically linked.
The government moved Northland from alarm level 2 to alarm level 3 in a sudden announcement last night after a woman in Auckland who had visited Northland tested positive for coronavirus.
Jacinda Ardern said today that there was no “evidence” in support of any of the allegations circulating around the Northland case.
Speaking to several media outlets today, former Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters claimed the woman had gang connections and traveled through Auckland’s border to the Bay of Islands and back.
He said there are more details that officials know and should have been made public.
But Ardern said there was no “evidence” to back up some of the claims circulating online, and the government did not withhold important information.
“Since we have had information about their movements, we have released them. But this is a case where the individual despite the involvement of the police has not been present and therefore we have taken a very cautious approach and it was the right one.
“What we know from video and CCTV footage is that the person in question was traveling with a woman. We know that the place where they lived during that period has also confirmed that they were traveling with a woman. And the person who has been implicated through some of what social media chats have even confirmed that they were not in the Northland region.
“My understanding is that the police have identified this person and are working hard to find them.”
In a statement, Covid-19 defense minister Chris Hipkins reiterated Ardern’s comment that there was no evidence that the covid-positive woman was being helped across the border into northern Norway by Mongrel Mob.
He said police were involved and CCTV footage showed the positive case raised with another woman – which was confirmed by staff at the Comfort Hotel Flames in Whangārei.
Police have identified the other woman but had not yet found her.
“The person who is rumored to have been with her has stated that he was not in Northland,” Hipkins said.
“I have not been informed of the occupation or associations of the case.”
There are a total of 26 people in the hospital: North Shore (3), Middlemore (13), Auckland (8), Waikato Base Hospital (1), Palmerston North (1). Seven of the 26 people are on intensive care or high-dependency units.
The Herald understands that the case at the Palmerston North hospital is a truck driver in Auckland who tested positive and has isolated.
74 percent (31) of yesterday’s cases had exposure events in the community.
A total of 85,757 vaccinations were administered yesterday – of which 32,051 to Aucklanders. Of the total, 18,568 were first doses and 67,189 second doses.
In terms of wastewater testing, there had been no unexpected detection in the last 24 hours, including new detections in Hamilton and Palmerston North – both Wednesday and Thursday.
About 5,000 test sticks were taken in Waikato yesterday. There are pop-up test sites operating today at Claudelands, Te Rapa, Karāpiro, Raglan and Kāwhia. The existing test center at Founders Theater is also open.
A record number of vaccinations were administered in Waikato with 9946 doses given. Large increases were reportedly seen in rural areas. In Waikato, 78.2 percent of those eligible have now received their first dose, and 52.6 percent are fully vaccinated.
At 6 a.m. today, 184,201 doses had been administered across Northland – including 108,885 first doses and 75,316 other doses.
As Northland moved to snap-level 3 status overnight, public health experts have warned of any move to further loosen restrictions in Auckland next week for fear the number of cases will spiral out of control.
The Cabinet will meet on Monday to discuss any changes to Covid-19 levels.
Ministers held an emergency meeting early last night where they decided to place Northland at level 3 until midnight on Tuesday. This decision, as well as whether the restrictions in Auckland could be loosened, will be debated on Monday.
But Covid -19 model Michael Plank – who spoke after 44 new Community cases were confirmed yesterday – warned against any thought of easing Auckland.
“It already looks like things are going up, so I think it can be a real risk to relax more at this stage that you will see things go out of control.”
Mystery has surrounded the Covid-positive woman who traveled through Northland before the region moved to level 3.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters dropped a bombshell on morning television, saying the woman was brought to Northland by Mongrel Mob under false pretenses.
Peters claimed the woman was staying at a hotel in central Whangārei, but when she had a Covid test and it came back positive, she fled to a marae further north, he told Newshub Nation.
By the time police went to arrest her at the marina, she had already left, Peters said.
The Ministry of Health says the person remains in a quarantine facility in Auckland. Another person who is believed to have traveled with the case has not yet been able to be contacted.
Public health personnel continue to work closely with the case and police to determine any locations of interest or exposure events, the ministry said.
The Mongrel Mob leader, named by Peters, says the allegations are “totally unfounded”.
Newstalk ZB’s Jack Tame says the manager told him over the phone that he was in Auckland and he had not been to Northland during this outbreak. “He laughed and said he thought the accusations were driven by a moral panic over gangs.”
The allegations, along with other allegations about the woman, have been widely circulated on social media, text and email, but have not been confirmed by officials or the government.
Covid-19 defense minister Chris Hipkins told a hastily arranged press conference last night that he had no information to suggest the woman was connected to a gang.
A reporter at the press conference said they had been told the woman was a sex worker, but Hipkins said he could not confirm that – he had not been informed that this was the case.
Peters told Newshub Nation that he was completely sure of his sources and claimed health authorities and Ardern knew days ago who the person was traveling with.
The Herald has tried to confirm speculation about the case before Peter’s appearance on television.
This morning, the police have referred all inquiries to the Ministry of Health. “For privacy reasons, the Ministry of Health, where possible, does not comment on individuals,” said a spokesman for the Ministry of Health.
Hipkins revealed yesterday that the woman – who had returned a weak positive test result in Northland – had again tested positive for the virus in Auckland.
The woman is believed to have traveled around Northland, including to Whangārei, Kamo, Paihia and Kawakawa, before returning to Auckland.
However, points of interest are limited to two gas stations, as the woman, according to Hipkins, had been “cooperating” with the authorities to determine her movements in the region.
The two petrol stations are BP Connect Wylies in Woodhill (Saturday 2 October – 11.20 – 12.20) and Z Kensington (Monday 4 October – 15.45 – 16.45).
It was also understood that the Uretiti Beach DoC campsite south of Whangārei was another place of interest. This had not yet been confirmed by Northland DHB or the Ministry of Health.
In response, the Tai Tokerau Border Control group had established a checkpoint north of Whangārei near Waiomio, rejecting anyone who did not travel for important purposes.
There were suggestions that another checkpoint would be erected near Kaeo in the Whangaroa area. Mobile devices can also be used to restrict movement in the far north.