Today in New Zealand, there are 162 new community cases due to Covid-19.

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Today, there are 162 new Covid-19 community cases in New Zealand.

Wellington Covid-19 testing station on 23/8/2021.

A sign outside a Covid-19 testing centre. File photo Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

In a statement, the Ministry of Health said of the new cases, 156 are in Auckland, five in Waikato and one in Northland.

There are also four new cases at the border.

The ministry said 53 people are in hospital, down from 56 yesterday – 15 in North Shore, 19 in Middlemore and 19 in Auckland.

The number of community cases in Canterbury officially remains at five, including one historical case which will be removed from the case numbers tomorrow.

In Northland, there is now a total of 13 cases in the region – all of which are isolating at home with public health oversight, the ministry said.

“Public Health interviews continue to identify new locations of interest and we do ask people in Northland to check the ministry’s locations of interest webpage regularly, which is updated throughout the day. Each location of interest has corresponding advice.”

In Auckland, one more staff member of Edmonton Meadows Care Home in Henderson has tested positive, meaning the total number of staff cases is now two.

The total number of cases related to Edmonton Meadows care home is now 10.

As reported yesterday, two of the Covid-19 -positive residents are currently receiving appropriate ward-level care at North Shore Hospital, the ministry said.

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It said as the source of transmission remains unknown, whole genome sequencing is underway.

In Waikato, one of the five new cases is in Ngāruawāhia, two are in Ōtorohanga and one is in Hamilton.

“The fifth is a case in Ōtorohanga announced yesterday that came in after our daily reporting time cut-off. This case is still under investigation to determine any links to existing cases,” the ministry said.

“Three of the other five cases today are known contacts already in isolation and the remaining case has now also been linked to existing cases.”

The ministry said after an unexpected Covid-19 wastewater detection in Huntly yesterday, there are pop-up testing centres at both Huntly East and Huntly West from 10am today.

In Christchurch, there are no new cases to report but Covid-19 was detected in two new wastewater samples collected on Friday – in the southern and eastern part of the city.

“One of these samples is likely the result of a known case living in the catchment area. Investigations are underway to establish any link to known cases for the second sample, including any recovered cases that have recently left MIQ,” the ministry said.

“Further samples are being taken, with results expected later this week.”

The ministry reminded people in Christchurch who have any symptoms, no matter how mild, to get tested.

It also said the four household contacts of the person who was reported as testing positive for Covid-19 in Tonga remain in isolation and have all returned an initial negative result. Two close contacts are in isolation with public health oversight in Christchurch and two are in isolation with public health oversight in Porirua.

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As of 10am this morning, there are 387 locations of interest.

Vaccination update

As of today more than 3.1 million New Zealanders are now fully vaccinated, the ministry said.

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Photo: Ministry of Health

It said it would highlight how many New Zealanders were vaccinated rather than the number of community cases to ” better reflect the shift in New Zealand’s current response to Covid-19 and the importance of vaccination”.

There were more than 20,000 vaccines administered yesterday taking NZ’s vaccination rate to 88 percent for first doses and 75 percent for second doses representing 3,159,301 fully vaccinated New Zealanders.

New Zealand had 303 cases over the weekend including Saturday’s 160 new infections which was a record for the pandemic.

There was no media conference at 1pm, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern due to hold a briefing at 4pm to announce Cabinet’s decision on whether alert levels for Auckland and parts of Waikato will be eased.

The next stage within alert level 3 would be ‘step 2’ where retail could operate and public facilities like pools, libraries and museums reopen, subject to mask-wearing and social distancing.

Ardern told Morning Report she would be sharing more details on Covid-19 modelling which suggests a rise in case numbers which would peak at 200 per day this month.

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