Wednesday 25 August, 1pm

Cases linked to the Delta community outbreak have topped 200, with 198 in Auckland and 12 in Wellington.

Of the 62 new cases announced at today’s 1pm briefing, one was in Wellington and the rest are in Auckland. The new Wellington case is a close contact of an existing case. There is also a new case in MIQ.

Currently, 12 people with Covid are in hospital - up from three yesterday. 11 of those are associated with the community cluster. None are in ICU, Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said. 

So far, the majority of cases are within households or workplaces, with a smaller number of cases linked because they’ve been at a location of interest. 23,383 contacts of cases have also been identified, and 12,717 have had “formal contact” with health authorities, Bloomfield said. Of those, 62 percent have already returned a test result. 

Bloomfield also said six subclusters had been identified in the current outbreak, the largest of which now has 105 cases and is linked to the Sāmoan Assembly of God Church in Māngere, Auckland. While a lot of racism and vitriol has been directed at the Sāmoan and Pacific communities, Bloomfield highlighted the work being carried out by these groups in the current outbreak and wider pandemic response.

“I’d like to reiterate my shoutout yesterday to the Sāmoan, and Pacific community and to their community leaders for stepping up to support contact tracing, identification, isolation, testing and vaccination efforts in the local community,” he said. 

“Right since the start of this pandemic, it is our Pacific communities that have had the highest testing rates of any ethnicity, and particularly in our outbreaks, we see the testing rates go up really high.”

Bloomfield also said the demographic breakdown of the outbreak was being published on the Ministry of Health website due to "public interest". 

As a result of public interest, and as we’ve done in the past, we’re now publishing on the Ministry website the demographic breakdown of the cluster, including, gender, ethnicity and age group breakdown. That will be updated daily on our website," he said. 

The second biggest cluster, called the Birkdale Social group, has 36 confirmed cases today. It includes those linked to the very first cases. There is also a subcluster of about 14 cases associated with households and workplaces in the west Auckland suburb of Massey. The remaining three subclusters have less than 10 cases, and will not have further details released for privacy reasons. 

More locations of interest have also been identified, with just over 40 listed on the Ministry of Health website today. Bloomfield also said he expects to see the number of new community cases slowly level off due to level 4 restrictions. He described the current pattern as "steady grown" but "not exponential".  

Meanwhile, vaccinations continue to be administered at record levels. Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said more than 80,000 people received a vaccination dose - the largest number in a day ever. Today, those over 30 are also eligible for a vaccine. The 30-39 age band includes about 70,000 people. Hipkins also said a record number of Covid tests were performed yesterday, with nearly 50,000 people swabbed

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