Saturday 21 August, 1pm

Today there are 21 new cases in the community, bringing the total current outbreak to 51.

18 of today’s new cases are in Auckland and three are in Wellington, one of which was reported yesterday.

All cases have been or are being transferred to managed isolation facilities.

21 of the 51 are not yet confirmed as part of the Auckland cluster and investigation is underway, with initial assessment showing in the vast majority of cases there is a link.

There are three new cases in recent returnees in managed isolation facilities.

Contact tracing and vaccinations

In terms of contact tracing, so far 5065 individual contacts have been identified, and it’s expected there will be another 5000 contacts by the end of the day, with the majority in the Auckland and Waikato regions.

The North Shore hospital emergency department continues to be closed with ambulances being diverted to other emergency departments. 829 DHB staff have been tested, all negative, with 208 still pending.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says we hit a new record yesterday, with the most vaccinations done in a single day, at 56,843.

72 percent of New Zealanders aged 40+ are either booked or have been vaccinated with at least one dose. 150,000 vaccination bookings were made yesterday.

If you are aged 40+ or in one of the priority groups, you can visit to book in your vaccine.

Covid testing

We also hit a record number of new Covid tests processed in a single day, at 41,464.

The Prime Minister says it is “extraordinary” that we have achieved this in a single day, and has thanked everyone who has waited “sometimes hours” to get a test.

There are 14 community testing centres open across Auckland today, including four new pop ups.

There are also four new community testing centers that have been opened for close contacts only. The locations of these are not being publicly advertised, but those who need to use them have been given details directly by public health officials.

Six new pop up community testing centres have opened in Wellington. You can visit Healthpoint to find a list of all testing centres open today, or you can book a test through your GP.

At the moment, you only need to get a test if you are in any of the following groups:

  • Are a contact of a known case
  • Were at a location of interest at the date and time recorded. If you went to a location of interest but not at the specified date or time you don't need to get a test. Here is the current list of locations of interest.
  • If you have cold or flu symptoms

Ardern says if you're not in one of those three groups and you're not unwell you don't need a test, as we need to prioritise those who are at risk of being exposed are getting a test.

Genome sequencing has narrowed down the likely source to a person who arrived on August 7. 

Therefore the Ministry of Health is removing locations of interest that predate August 7. Everyone from those locations still must comply with level 4 but no longer needs to get a test.

The Prime Minister thanked our “outstanding” health workforce. “On behalf of New Zealand I want to acknowledge how tough the last few days have been, and say thank you.” 

She says if you interact with a healthcare worker “please pass on the thanks of the team of five million”.

What we're learning from the Delta outbreak in New South Wales

Ardern says we have learnt from New South Wales that the virus can keep spreading during lockdown, from people going to work or from breaking the rules.

This is one of the key reasons their cases keep going up and their lockdown has been extended, she says, with a “devastating” 825 new cases reported in NSW this morning.

“No one wants an extended lockdown and no one wants to see that rate of transmission, so the one thing everyone can do right now is reduce down your contacts.”

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