August 21 2021
There are 21 new cases of Covid-19 in the community – bringing the total number of people infected in the latest outbreak to 51.
* 31 confirmed cases, more than 210 locations in Auckland and Wellington – including flight
* Cases confirmed at these five Auckland secondary schools
* Second big corporate hit by Covid exposure event scare – 1000 nationwide attendees
* Close contacts confirmed in Bay of Plenty
* Derek Cheng: Don’t be surprised if case numbers surge this weekend
* Oops … Alleged car thief accidentally takes off with Covid test swab
* Claire Trevett: Govt caught short in planning for Delta lockdown
* Matauri Bay locals close beach, call out lockdown breakers
* Steven Joyce: This time, let’s try a little humility
A second student at AUT University has tested positive for Covid-19.
Vice Chancellor Derek McCormack told students in an email sent this morning that the student attended five classes last week during their infectious period.
“The initial information is that the student was in several locations on the City Campus, during their infectious period.”
The Ministry of Health has updated their initial advice to say everyone in the August 11 3pm-5pm WA220 COMP501/52 Computing Technology in Society class and the 5pm-8pm WG707/708 DIGD507/51 Mahi tahi: Collaborative Practices class must isolate at home and be tested three times.
Anyone on all other ares of City Campus on August 11 must self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms develop, get a test and stay at home until you get a negative test result and until 24 hours after symptoms resolve.
On Wednesday, the university – which has a campus in Auckland’s CBD – was informed of an earlier student who tested positive and had attended one class during their infectious period.
STORY CONTINUES AFTER LIVE BLOG
The University of Auckland and two more top schools have also had students test positive for Covid – sending at least 7000 secondary students and their families into isolation.
The Delta outbreak has also sent TV star Hilary Barry and 1000 others into isolation after a gala awards dinner attended by another positive case.
As New Zealand starts lockdown weekend, with 28 confirmed cases in Auckland and three in Wellington, students at the University of Auckland and Auckland’s De la Salle College and McAuley High School have tested positive – and attended classes while infectious.
There are now five Auckland secondary schools affected by the outbreak – De la Salle College, McAuley High School, Avondale College, Northcote College and Lynfield College – with a combined student population of 7000.
Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said this morning he hadn’t been given an overnight update on the latest numbers but “there will be more cases”.
“I don’t have that update. We’ll give it at 1pm. We will see more cases, in part because of the extraordinary uptake of testing. There will be more cases,” he told Newshub Nation.
We just have to expect that things get worse before they get better”.
He said he was aware of more than 40,000 tests undertaken across the country yesterday.
He said as soon as there was a positive test result, authorities were working immediately to locate close contacts and get in touch with businesses which were locations of interest
He defended the delay in the government releasing locations of interest, saying it was important accurate information was released, and businesses were made aware they were locations of interest before the public.
Close contacts were contacted first before they “fan out” to casual contacts. He said it would take some time to contact the thousands who might have been at larger events.
In response to questions about seven hour waits at testing facilities, he reminded people to look carefully at the time and date of locations of interest to make sure they really needed to be tested.
He said they were testing at record levels.
Robertson told The Nation economically New Zealand could survive for a long time, and had shown its ability to be resilient.
National leader Judith Collins said lockdown was the right call given the country’s low vaccination rate, and given there was no certainty on the source of the “border failure”.
She suspected a lockdown longer than a week in Auckland, and said the government needed to provide people with more certainty on the length of the lockdown.
She criticised the government’s vaccinations schedule, saying they had “failed massively”.
“The government had one job this year,” she said.
She said it was “simply unacceptable” to have nurses in hospitals unvaccinated, and there needed to be clear targets set for vaccination.
Busy testing centre delays opening; New pop-up site for school contacts
As well as details of the new cases, the Delta outbreak has seen Kiwis rally to get tested – around 200 cars were already in line at the Henderson testing station as at 8am Saturday.
Testing at the Wairau Valley testing station appears to have been delayed this morning with one person saying a security guard cited a “technical issue” was to blame.
The Herald understands there were supply problems which delayed the centre from starting on time.
A man waiting for a Covid swab at the site said there’s been a delay in opening up this morning.
He queued up for a test from 6:30am as the District Health Board’s website said the site would open at 8:30am.
However, he said security staff recently came past his car to advise him that it was only likely to open at 10am.
The man had been at the Mitre 10 awards event last week where a bar worker had Covid-19. Close to 1000 people at the event – including its host Hilary Barry – are deemed close contacts and are being told to isolate and get a test.
“We’re just sitting here and waiting,” said the man, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Mari Anne Wells, Geoffrey Wells and Zion Ruka-Wells departed from their Sunnyvale home at 3.15am to be first in line at the Henderson testing centre at 4am.
Zion and Geoffrey were essential workers, the former an employee at Green Bay New World – a location of interest.
The whānau came to the west Auckland testing site yesterday but left when they were told it would take eight hours to be tested. “I think they should open more testing [centres] … the line yesterday was just ridiculous,” Mari Anne said.
A pop-up testing centre dedicated for Northcote College students, staff and families has been established to cope with demand.
The new station is at the Northcote Birkenhead Rugby Club on Recreation Drive, Birkenhead.
The father of an Avondale College student, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Herald he thought the Covid testing regime had been “shambolic”, given the dearth of options.
For their first test, the family had arrived at the St Luke’s testing site before leaving due to long queues. They then went to a local GP, where they were tested.
Returning to the Avondale racecourse for their day five test, the father believed teenagers under 16 should have been vaccinated earlier to mitigate risk.
“It’s a bit disappointing that kids that have gone to college did not get vaccinated,” he said.
People between 12-15 years old can now get vaccinated alongside an older family member. They will be able to book their own vaccination from September 1.