7 confirmed community Covid 19 cases; NZ’s outbreak traced back to NSW

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Aug 18, 2021 |

The Ministry of Health has today confirmed two new cases of COVID-19 in the community. This is additional to the five cases reported previously.

This brings the total of community cases at this stage to seven. All cases are being transferred to an Auckland isolation facility, under strict infection prevention and control procedures, including the use of full PPE.

In addition, there are three new cases in returnees in managed isolation. The two new community cases, a 21-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman both returned a positive test today. Both are located in Auckland.

These two cases are linked to the earlier reported community cases.

Public health officials are conducting interviews to establish more details of how these new cases were infected and to determine further details of their movements.

Case A is now in a quarantine facility in Auckland. A subsequent test of case A has again returned a positive test result.

The wife of Case A, reported yesterday, and who is fully vaccinated, has again returned a negative test result.

Of the community cases reported to date, four were tested after becoming ill and seeking healthcare and three after being identified as contacts.

Movements of the additional cases reported earlier today continue to be investigated. Investigations also continue at Auckland City Hospital, where one of the cases worked for four shifts during their infectious period.

The hospital last night activated plans to prevent the spread of the virus within the hospital. The DHB has stopped unnecessary movements between wards and is testing all staff and patients on the ward the staff member worked on. The DHB is also standing down, testing and isolating staff on the same ward.

The Ministry understands news this morning that one of the cases worked at Auckland City Hospital may create concern.

However, anyone who needs urgent medical care will be safe as safe in hospitals now as they would be at any other time, including Auckland City Hospital.

While elective surgery and non-essential outpatient hospital appointments are currently postponed at hospitals around the country, anyone who needs urgent medical attention – such as a medical emergency or going into labour – should follow the normal procedures.

At Alert level 4 many appointments or interactions with heathcare services may be virtual.

Dial 111 or attend hospital emergency departments. Hospital staff are working and able to provide the care you need. They have measures in place to safely manage care at Alert Level 4.

And as you would normally do, if you have a health issue that isn’t an emergency, please call your GP or give Healthline a call on 0800 611 116.

Pharmacies also remain open in Alert Level 4.

Additional testing resources are being set-up across the country and people that are symptomatic, wherever they are in New Zealand, especially in the Auckland region and the Coromandel, or have been at a location of interest are urged to get tested.

Contact tracing

Public health staff in Auckland are working on the critical work necessary to investigate community cases.

They are interviewing cases, identifying their contacts, tracing those contacts, and ensuring they’re in isolation and tested.  Isolation, when in alert level 4, means isolating themselves from other household members.

As at 11am Auckland Regional Public Health have 16 contacts identified.  Of these 16, 14 have been contacted.  Two are in the process of being traced and contacted.  One of the 14 contacts has tested positive and they are included in the case update provided earlier.  

Two contacts have returned negative test results, and the other 13 are isolating and being tested.  Of the 16 contacts, we know that four are fully vaccinated; three have had one dose;the remainder are unvaccinated – reflecting the majority of these individuals would not yet have been offered vaccination due to not yet meeting the eligibility for vaccination.

These numbers are expected to grow.

Details of the locations of interest identified to date are available on Ministry’s website, which will be updated progressively as further locations of interest are identified.

The Ministry’s website will also include advice on what to do if you were at any of these locations at the time when you could potentially have been exposed. Text message alerts are currently being sent to people who scanned in using the COVID-19 Tracer App at locations during the relevant times.

Please call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you were potentially exposed and for advice on testing.

Whole Genome Sequencing

Initial whole genome sequencing run on a sample from Case A overnight has shown he has the Delta variant and there is a link to the New South Wales outbreak.

Further investigations have continued this morning and the Ministry is working closely with ESR to determine the source of these infections.

ESR is also examining cases that have recently arrived from New South Wales to determine if there is any possible link.


Get tested if you visited a location of interest or have cold and flu symptoms. All community testing centres in Auckland are continuing to operate for extended hours today and will remain open until 8pm. Four additional pop-up community testing centres have opened this morning in Devonport, St Lukes, Wairau Valley and Albany and will remain open into the evening. Testing is underway in Thames and Coromandel Township, including two pop-up testing sites, and additional testing centres are being rapidly stood up across the District.

Pop-up testing sites are open in Coromandel Township and Thames, and an additional testing centre has been stood up at Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton.Please call Healthline on 0800 358 5453. And go to healthpoint.co.nz to find your local testing station, they will be updated during the day

DHBs are working on additional testing capacity throughout the country.

All DHBs had plans in place to continue the vaccination roll-out during alert level 4, and those are now being activated. Some vaccination in limited sites will restart this afternoon.

From 8am tomorrow the vaccination programme will resume throughout New Zealand.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

Have you got a news tip? Get in touch here

got a news tip?