Covid outbreak could rise to 120 cases, modelling suggests

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

Modelling suggests community cases in the latest outbreak could reach between 50 and 120. 

Shania Dod collects a sample at a United Memorial Medical Centre Covid-19 testing site.

"We're expecting more," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday after announcing two more cases, bringing the Delta outbreak total to seven. 

"Particularly the age group and demographic, particularly the likelihood of frequenting environments where you might be in close contact with others," she added. 

Ardern revealed there had been a number of high risk events and locations linked to the cases, including Avondale College, a church in Freeman's Bay and Sky City Casino. 

"We are moving to locations of interest that are much larger where there are people who won't be identified by the people we're interviewing because they'll just be alongside strangers, so we just need people to identify themselves if they've been at those locations of interest," Ardern said. 

Dr Bloomfield said two different modelling exercises suggested the outbreak could rise to between 50 and 120 cases. 

That was due to the cases not being directly linked with the border, along with other assumptions. 

"That's giving people the sense of the scale and that is specifically with the Delta variant considered.

"Our job now is to find any and every case" Dr Bloomfield said. "Everyone's job is to sit tight and stay in their bubble."

Ardern said people's level of compliance could impact the modelling. 

"With NSW, I can only imagine how gutting it is for the team over there when they identify 633 cases, they're still finding almost 100 who were active in the community," Ardern said. 

"That just means it keeps dragging."

Ardern said of the high-risk sites linked to New Zealand's Covid cases, one of the cases who visited was vaccinated, "so we don't yet know the impact the vaccination status will have on their level of infectiousness". 

"We assume the worst because that is the safest place to be when we're contact tracing, but we don't yet know."

Current Auckland community cases:

- A work colleague of Case A, the first person to test positive for the virus yesterday. This case is a 20-year-old male.
- Three flatmates of the 20-year-old: a 21-year-old Auckland Hospital nurse, a 25-year-old female teacher at Avondale College, and a 29-year-old male
- A 21-year-old female in Auckland who was a friend of a case
- A 19-year-old male in Auckland who was a friend of a case

Dr Bloomfield said the cases were young and had been out and about, flagging there will be large numbers of locations of interest.

He signalled two important locations - Auckland Central Church of Christ in Freeman's Bay on Sunday and the other was the Sky City Casino on Saturday night and the early hours of Sunday morning. 

Ardern said work was underway to investigate the original source of the case announced yesterday. 

"We haven't yet answered that question of where it started," Ardern said. 

However, she did reveal the community cases were linked to the New South Wales outbreak. 

She said there had been three Covid cases from NSW who had been in New Zealand quarantine recently. 

"This is a case linked to the NSW outbreak gives us a lot of leads."

However, Dr Bloomfield said a person from NSW with Covid who was transferred to Auckland City Hospital last week did not meet the timeframes of the nurse who had tested positive for Covid. 

He said there was nothing to suggest the nurse was working at the facility area the NSW traveller was in.

The first community case (Case A) was a 58-year-old Auckland man who had travelled to Coromandel for the weekend, it was thought he could be infectious from August 12.