Covid 19 Delta Outbreak: Expert Says ‘Very Tough’ Tail Queries Auckland Level 2 Next Week

PM Jacinda Ardern announced new travel rules for leaving Auckland and other MIQ locations, while the Police Commissioner warned the Church head of the fate of a planned protest that triggers a police response . Video / New Zealand Herald

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The daily case count fell to single digits yesterday, but Aucklanders are warned not to expect Level 2 next week as the last embers of the outbreak could still erupt.

Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker said Auckland remained on “the knife’s edge” as the virus was still circulating in marginalized communities where people were less likely to be tested.

“Tails has been very resistant to what we do. Now the difficulty is whether you can even think about getting out of Alert Level 3 until we no longer find these unexplained Be cases. “

He called for a more targeted “neighborhood” approach to detect and eradicate the remaining cases, which continue to emerge despite the cautious level of restrictions.

“The numbers remain in this range, hovering around 20 per day with a slight decline for four weeks. This means that although the trend looks a little positive, we are not moving on the current trend. “

There were eight cases yesterday, the first time the number of daily cases has fallen to single digits since Friday last week, and all but one were related.

The unrelated case was that of a man who presented to the emergency department at Waitakere Hospital on Monday evening – one of seven unrelated cases in the past fifteen weeks.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the number of daily cases remains volatile.  Photo / Mark Mitchell
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the number of daily cases remains volatile. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the low number of cases was pleasant, but there was “a bit of instability at the moment”.

Health Director-General Ashley Bloomfield said there were “largely” only three subgroups active in South Auckland, where cases were still being reported among people who had not been in touch.

Two of them were houses linked by genomic sequencing, while the third focused on transitional housing – a boarding house.

He said there had been targeted testing in Clover Park, one of Auckland’s eight suburbs of concern.

Health workers knocked around 100 homes on four streets, but agreed to test only nine homes. Of those who refused a test, half had already been tested.

He said public health teams are testing people in other transitional habitats.

Professor Michael Baker says that despite the alert level restrictions, the tail of the virus remains and a more targeted approach is needed to eliminate it.  photo / supplies
Professor Michael Baker says that despite the alert level restrictions, the tail of the virus remains and a more targeted approach is needed to eliminate it. photo / supplies

But Baker called for mass testing in affected neighborhoods, after talks with community leaders and health providers.

“We have this brief window of opportunity to shut down these remaining transmission lines.”

Of the 203 active cases in the cluster yesterday, around 80% were Maori or Pasifikas.

Maori GP Dr Raviri Janssen said the virus was still present in communities less sensitive to traditional public health messages and contact tracing approaches.

“Low income, housing stress, more cops, more incarceration – these communities require a specialized approach. “

It was important to have access to appropriate health services, which did not appear to be “knocking on your door to find out if you have symptoms”.

“We want to do more testing in particular suburbs and in particular communities. Part of this is happening, using vendors who are culturally consistent and taking a respectful approach to relationship building.

“We may need to see more to really get a handle on it. “

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Baker said the impact of the Level 3 move would continue to be visible in the daily case count until the end of next week – and it was “hard to imagine” the case numbers not keeping up. .

“There are still hundreds of thousands of people in Auckland who have not been vaccinated. These marginalized groups are linked to others through multiple channels.

“If their children start going back to school from these homes, we will start to see more transmission of the virus from these communities. “

Baker said he was less concerned with the added freedom to travel over Auckland as there was no widespread transmission.

As of today, people relocating permanently from Auckland are allowed to leave the city, provided they have tested negative within the past 72 hours and have proof of the reason for their trip. .

Legal reasons included moving to a new home, starting a new job, care-related obligations such as childcare or higher education outside Auckland.

Dr Raviri Jansen says communities in South Auckland where the virus is prevalent are less sensitive to traditional public health messages and contact tracing approaches.  Photo / Dean Purcell
Dr Raviri Jansen says communities in South Auckland where the virus is prevalent are less sensitive to traditional public health messages and contact tracing approaches. Photo / Dean Purcell

Ardern said about 77% of the eligible population had received a dose of the vaccine, but increasing it to 90% would be “really difficult.”

“Even at 90 percent [of the eligible population vaccinated]“You can immunize somewhere around 75 percent of your population,” she said.

“That’s why it’s not enough to say, ‘We’re going to give everyone a chance to get the shot, if I get the shot, I’ll be fine.’ When 25% of your population is unvaccinated, management needs to ensure that epidemics do not overwhelm your health system and affect people like children. “

Of the 1,185 cases reported to date, 260 are children under 12 who are not eligible for vaccination.

Bloomfield said a September 23 sample showed positive results for Tauranga sewage. Further tests were underway to see if it could be a recovered case.

He asked residents of the greater Tauranga region to test if they had symptoms or were at a site of interest.

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