Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Chris Hipkins and Ashley Bloomfield front questions on Govt response

As cases continue to grow, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins will front questions from Opposition MPs at the health select committee at 2.30pm.

There were 41 new cases today, including 38 in Auckland, and three in Wellington.

There are now 148 cases in the whole cluster, with 11 cases in Wellington and the rest in Auckland.

Eighty nine of the cases have been epidemiologically linked, and while the other 59 cases are being investigated, director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield said there is nothing to suggest at the moment that they are part of a separate chain of transmission.

One of the cases is an Auckland MIQ worker, but they had caught the virus as a contact of an existing case rather than being suspected of being the potential source.

Bloomfield revealed earlier today for the first time the number of cases in subclusters: 58 cases in the Assembly of God church service in Mangere, and 23 cases in the Birkdale group.

He said there were six subclusters in total and the other four had far fewer cases.

The church subcluster, which included six people in Wellington, included people who had been at the August 15 service and their close contacts.

Bloomfield said there were 27 different church groups that took part in the service, and the total number of people at the service was yet to be determined. More than 500 people have been tested.

There are now almost 16,000 contacts, 6000 of whom are still yet to be contacted. Of the 369 “very close contacts”, 37 of them are yet to be contacted.

Bloomfield said the Health Ministry was putting together more information about how many of the cases might spent any time in the community before the lockdown while infectious, including whether any of them might be essential workers.

He said while there was an increase in the number of cases today, there hadn’t been an exponential increase, and if the lockdown was working, case numbers would peak in the coming days.

There are now more than 400 locations of interest.

There were 35,000 tests nationwide yesterday, including about 26,000 in Auckland, and there have been no unexpected positive results from wastewater testing.

Bloomfield said people who were deemed high risk were being invited to go to one of five invitation-only testing stations in Auckland to avoid long waits.

Some scammers had been texting people to tell them they had tested positive, he said, and he clarified that anyone testing positive would receive a phone call.

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