Thursday 26 August, 1pm

Nearly 70 new cases have been identified in the current community outbreak, all in Auckland and Wellington. Altogether, more than 24,400 contacts have also been identified.  

The new cases bring the total number of cases in the community to 277. Of today’s new cases, two are in Wellington - both household contacts of two previously identified contacts. 

Further, a previously identified case has been reclassified following a false positive result.

Public Health Director Dr Caroline McElnay gave the 1pm update alongside Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. 

McElnay confirmed the two biggest subclusters in the current outbreak continue to be the Māngere church cluster, which now has 114 confirmed cases and the Birkdale Social network, which is associated with the very first cases and has 35 confirmed cases. The other subclusters have less than 10 cases associated with them. 

There is also one new case in MIQ. 

The number of identified contacts for cases also continues to increase. So far, 24,402 individual contacts have been identified, of which 65 percent have been followed up by contact tracers and are self isolating. 71 percent of identified contacts have had a test with high testing numbers in locations of interests with large settings like schools.

Work is continuing to contact the remaining 8647 contacts - half of which were identified yesterday, McElnay said. 

The total number of locations of interest is now 495, of which 20 were identified over the last 24 hours. Three locations of interest were added this morning, including a rugby game pre-lockdown and two supermarkets from during lockdown. The full list, which is being regularly updated, is available here at the Ministry of Health site. 

The Government is also continuing to recruit and train contact tracers. Yesterday, 100 contract tracers were trained and, by the end of today, there would be 1400 contact tracers nationally, McElnay said. 

Testing rates continue to remain higher. Nearly 42,000 swabs were processed by laboratories yesterday across New Zealand, 3300 of which were from Wellington. In Auckland, more than 20,000 tests were performed, about 7000 and testing centres and the rest at GP and urgent clinics. Of the 23 community testing centres in Auckland, five are restricted access for high-risk groups associated with large locations of interest. 

Ardern also gave an update on the vaccination rollout. 87,772 doses were administered yesterday - a new daily record, she said. Additionally, more than 3 million doses have been administered since the beginning of the Covid vaccination programme, and at the end of yesterday.

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