Covid 19 Delta outbreak: PM Jacinda Ardern and Bloomfield on Auckland’s move to 3.2 and Far North update

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will shortly announce whether restrictions in Auckland and the Far North will be eased amid the second-highest daily number of cases.

The Ministry of Health earlier reported 190 Covid-19 cases in the community over the past 24 hours, a figure only below the 206 reported on Saturday.

Ardern will be joined by director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield to announce Cabinet’s decision at 4pm over whether to move Auckland to step 2 of level 3, and whether the north of Northland can come back down to level 2.

This would allow shops and public facilities in Auckland to reopen and outdoor gatherings to increase to 25 people.

Ardern will also face questions around plans for Auckland over the summer with the district health boards on track to hit their 90 per cent of the eligible population full vaccination targets in three weeks.

Of today’s new cases, 182 are in Auckland, seven are in Waikato and one is in Northland.

The majority of today’s cases (110) are yet to be epidemiologically linked, taking the number still unlinked in the past 14 days to 700.

Thirty-seven of yesterday’s 113 cases had exposure events in the community, 74 were in isolation while infectious. It’s not clear the status of the remaining two cases.

The seven-day rolling average for community cases is 148 – just above Government-commissioned modelling released last week, which predicted 143 cases at this stage, and which has been guiding recent decision-making.

There are 81 people with the virus in hospital today, up from yesterday’s 74. Of those in hospital, 80 are in Auckland and one is in Whangārei.

This is slightly above the modelling, which predicted 78 people in hospital currently.

There are seven people with Covid in intensive care or a high dependency unit, up two from yesterday’s five. At this stage the modelling predicted 15 people in ICU.

Investigation into infected patient's death

Meanwhile, an investigation is under way as to whether or not a person admitted to hospital on October 23 died of Covid-19.

The patient, who was in their late-60s, was admitted to hospital for trauma injuries and tested positive after their arrival for Covid-19.

The cause of the person’s death will be determined by the coroner, including whether it may have been Covid-19 related.

This morning the ministry said a Covid-infected guest had died in an Auckland MIQ facility.

The person arrived on November 3 and tested positive for Covid during their day 3 routine test at the Crowne Plaza facility.

A ministry spokesperson said the cause of the person’s death would be determined by the Coroner, including whether it may have been Covid-19 related.

The latest death comes just days after the ministry launched a review into the home isolation system as a result of two people dying while isolating at home with Covid last week.

A man in his 50s died in his Mt Eden home on Friday and another died at a Manukau apartment on Tuesday. Both deaths have been referred to the Coroner.

There are now 1886 people isolating at home across Auckland, including 816 people with Covid in 661 households.

PM on Christmas rules for Aucklanders

Earlier today, Ardern told The AM Show that Auckland could move into the new traffic light framework in as early as three weeks.

That would see everything including hospitality open and this was looking possible now all the Auckland DHBs had reached the 90 per cent target for first jabs.

In terms of letting Aucklanders through the border at Christmas, Ardern said the logistical issue was how they would get 30,000 to 40,000 vehicles a day through the border.

“We’ve given the commitment, we know we need to enable people to move.”

She had not said it would be done at the start of summer – but the goal was to do so by Christmas.

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