Bloomfield says 62 new Covid-19 cases are 'not exponential'

Source: 1News

There are 62 new community cases of Covid-19 today, the Ministry of Health has announced.

There is one other case in managed isolation at the border, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said in a media conference on Wednesday afternoon.

It brings the total number of cases associated with the current community outbreak to 210, with 198 in Auckland and 12 in Wellington.

Meanwhile, there are now 12 people in hospital with Covid-19 - up from three yesterday, Bloomfield said. Seven are associated with the current outbreak, and none are in the Intensive Care Unit.

Bloomfield also addressed "racist remarks and comments" being directed at the Samoan community after it was revealed on Tuesday that the majority of the cases in the outbreak were of Samoan ethnicity.

All of Wednesday's new cases are being or have been transferred into a quarantine facility.

"The good thing about this is while this is steady growth, it is not exponential," Bloomfield said.

"We do know that our actions to slow the spread of the virus will begin to see a slowing of those numbers increasing and indeed, the fact that the rate is not exponential is explicitly because we have Alert Level 4 in place.

"Contact tracing, isolation, community testing and genomic tracing - together with our wastewater testing - are powerful tools to help us identify the extent of the outbreak, but the most important thing to control it is that people abide by the Alert Level 4 restrictions."

Bloomfield added that currently, "the majority of the links" are within households or workplaces, while some of the cases were at a location of interest.

"The vast majority of cases already, we are able to identify a link and the exact person-to-person link is still being elaborated."

There are now six epidemiologically-linked sub-clusters identified by health officials, including the Birkdale social cluster associated with Case A, consisting of 36 cases; and the Assembly of God cluster, with 105 confirmed cases.

One sub-cluster associated to Massey households and workplaces which has 14 cases, while the remaining three have under 10 cases, Bloomfield said.

It comes as the list of locations of interest rose to 481.

Meanwhile, there have been 20,383 contacts identified as of 9am this morning, of which 12,717 have been formally contacted. Sixty-two per cent have returned a test result.

'Disappointing and gutless'

Bloomfield also took aim at "racist remarks and comments" being directed at the Samoan community.

"This is disappointing and, frankly, gutless," he said.

"I'm asking everyone in the country to be kind. The virus is the problem, not people. People are the solution - be part of the solution.

"There is a tremendous amount of working going on with this community and as we've seen in past outbreaks, they are incredibly responsive.

"I want to thank all the community leaders who are supporting our efforts to reach out and ensure that we support and look after that community and identify any cases there, which will be to everyone's benefit."

He also reiterated that contacts of a known case or who has been at a place of interest should be at home and cannot leave to exercise. Household contacts may leave the home to exercise, however, so long as they avoid contact with others and are not experiencing symptoms.