'Number of cases' linked to Auckland Samoan church service

Source: 1News

An incorrect image was posted with the first version of this story. 

Another South Auckland church has been tied to the growing Covid-19 cluster, with several cases reported Sunday linked to a church service. 

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

Anyone who attended a service at the Samoan Assembly of God church at 33 Andrew Baxter Drive in Māngere on August 15 between 9am and 3pm has been asked to self-isolate and get tested. 

It's now the third church linked to the cluster after Saint Andrews Church in Māngere Bridge and Saint Therese in Māngere East were alerted on Saturday night that a parishioner had tested positive. 

When asked whether this could eventuate into a "super spreader event", Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said that what is particularly different with this outbreak is that more large events and locations are being listed. 

"That is meaning we have many more contacts than we've had before, that of course does put the system under pressure." 

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield noted that Pasifika, in particular, have shown a strong response to getting tested in previous outbreaks as well as this one. 

A "number of cases" have now been linked to the service, including three in Wellington.  

"The Pacific community leaders are very good at mobilising the community to get tested and this is coming through in our results - by far the highest rates of testing is among our Pacific community."

Another emerging location for cases is the University of Auckland according to Bloomfield, where a number of today's cases under investigation are linked to. 

A further 21 cases of the Delta variant were reported in the community today, bringing the total to 72. While 61 have been tied back to the Auckland cluster, 11 are still under investigation. 

Hipkins stressed that those who are self-isolating should not be venturing out into the community while awaiting test results. 

"If you are a contact and you are self-isolating, you should not leave your house and that includes going and getting your vaccine." 

Over 8000 people have now been identified and is expected to increase according to Bloomfield. 

"Virtually all of those are close contacts, 4124 have been followed up and a third already tested," he said.  

A full list of the latest locations of interest can be found on the Ministry of Health's website here