Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: New community cases dip to 53

There are 53 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today and all are in Auckland.
The total number of cases in the community outbreak is now 562.

There are 547 cases in Auckland and 15 in Wellington. Forty-two cases are yet to be linked to another case or sub-cluster.

Thirty-seven cases are in hospital. Of those, five cases are in stable condition in the intensive care unit.

There are now 79 confirmed cases in the Birkdale Social Network cluster and 280 in the Māngere church cluster.

The drop in cases from the weekend – when over 80 new cases were recorded on both Saturday and Sunday – is a welcome sign as Cabinet prepares to meet to confirm the extension of level 4 for Auckland and Northland from 11.59pm Tuesday.

Most of the new cases will be from tests on Saturday, when 23,000 people were swabbed for Covid-19.

Yesterday 16370 tests were processed across New Zealand. That was lower than the 36,000 tests on Thursday and 37,000 on Friday.

The Ministry of Health released the case numbers ahead of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holding a press conference at 4pm to confirm New Zealand’s alert levels.

Around 15,000 swabs were taken at Auckland testing centres on Sunday.

There are 26 testing centres operating in Auckland today – four are invitation-only testing centres for high-risk groups and to prioritise essential healthcare workers, the Ministry of Health said.

Woman dies after rare vaccine side effect

Meanwhile, a woman has died after a rare side effect of the Pfizer Covid vaccine.

The Ministry of Health says the Covid-19 Vaccine Independent Safety Monitoring Board advised officials to ensure that healthcare professionals and consumers remained vigilant and were aware of the signs of myocarditis and pericarditis.

The advice followed the board’s review of the death of a woman following her vaccination.

The ministry said the monitoring board considered that the woman’s death was due to myocarditis, which was known to be a rare side effect of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

“The CV-ISMB considered that the myocarditis was probably due to vaccination. The CV-ISMB noted that there were other medical issues occurring at the same time which may have influenced the outcome following vaccination,” said the ministry in a statement.

The woman’s death had been referred to the Coroner and the cause of death had not yet been determined, said the ministry.

Further details would not be released while the Coroner investigated the death.

The ministry said this was the first case in New Zealand where a death in the days following vaccination has been linked to the Pfizer vaccine.

While the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring had received other reports of deaths in someone recently vaccinated, none were considered related to vaccination.

Last month Medsafe issued a safety alert on myocarditis to raise awareness of this recently identified side effect to the Pfizer vaccine.

The monitoring board considered that the circumstances of this death were consistent with what was known about myocarditis and the Pfizer vaccine.

The ministry said the benefits of vaccination using the Pfizer brand continued to greatly outweigh the risk of both Covid infection and vaccine side effects, including myocarditis.

The safety monitoring board’s chair Dr John Tait said it was important to thoroughly investigate significant and serious adverse events related to vaccination.

“We want to ensure that the outcomes from this investigation are widely available for others to learn from. The findings will be published to increase the scientific knowledge about vaccine-induced myocarditis,” said Tait.

“The Pfizer vaccine is highly effective in protecting against serious illness and death from Covid-19, and we remain confident about using it in New Zealand.”

Symptoms of myocarditis can include new onset chest pain, shortness of breath and an abnormal heartbeat. It’s important that anyone who experiences these symptoms in the first few days after vaccination seeks medical attention promptly.

As recently as August 25 there have been 32 cases of people reporting myocarditis and pericarditis in New Zealand after getting the Pfizer vaccine. A reported adverse event does not necessarily imply that it was caused by the vaccine.

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle wall.There are many possible causes of myocarditis, but the most common cause is a viral infection.

To date, the rate is highest of the condition after receiving the Pfizer vaccine has been in young men but can occur in people of all ages after the first or second dose.

The estimated rate is 23 cases per million in 12- to 39-year-olds according to the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The age of the woman is not disclosed.

Record number of cases in NSW

Covid-19 cases have hit a new record in New South Wales as the Delta variant continues to spread through the Australian state.

1290 cases were reported by health authorities today.

“Of the 1,290 locally acquired cases reported to 8pm last night, 449 are from Western Sydney Local Health District (LHD), 434 are from South Western Sydney LHD, 126 are from Sydney LHD, 70 are from South Eastern Sydney LHD, 83 are from Nepean Blue Mountains,” NSW Health said in a tweet.

It follows 1218 Covid-19 cases being recorded in NSW on Sunday.

Over the past two days alone nearly 170 new cases have been detected, the majority in Auckland.

There were 496 people with Covid-19 in Auckland and 15 in Wellington.

At present there are seven epidemiologically-linked subclusters in the outbreak.The two largest clusters are the Birkdale Social Network cluster associated with the first known case, the Devonport tradesman, at 68 cases and the Mangere church cluster with 237 cases.

Health officials said so far 453 cases had been clearly epidemiologically-linked to another case or sub-cluster, and a further 58 for which links are yet to be fully established.

Yesterday there were 34 people in hospital in North Island hospitals.Two were in a stable condition in ICU and 32 were in a stable condition on wards. The health ministry said three people were in North Shore Hospital, 17 in Middlemore Hospital, 13 in Auckland City Hospital, and onein Wellington Regional Hospital.

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Leading epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker said if cases were to drop by 30 in a single day it would be a good sign but likely too early to regard as a turning point with mystery cases still a major cause for concern.

“I think everyone is going to be very cautious about saying anything much about a drop on a single day.All the epidemiologists, you could probably line them all up and they’re going to say you need several days of clear decline before we’d say we’re getting on top of it.”

Baker said while there had been a big bulge of cases exposed to the virus prior to lockdown and subsequent infections of household contacts, alert level effects required at least a couple of generations of cases before they kicked in.

“We’d be hoping to see a decline but the worry is transmission in essential workplace and by large numbers of people – particularly young people – flaunting the lockdown rules.”

He said determining where the infection was coming from was going to be vital to stamp out the virus.

Of particular concern was the spread among essential workers and a number of mystery cases that would require a vigorous health response.

This morning it was revealed defence personnel staying at the Auckland naval barracks at Narrowneck on Auckland’s North Shore are self-isolating after Covid-19 fragments were detected in the wastewater last Monday.

The site was now in full lockdown with 62 junior officers and ratings undergoing swabs. So far 54 had come back negative with results of eight pending.

And as concerns grow about the spread of the virus among essential workers,Police confirmed a non-sworn staff member at their Auckland headquarters had tested positive for Covid-19.

The person, who works in a non-sworn role at Harlech House in Otahuhu, had been to work for one shift several days after being exposed to a family member who was infectious.

Meanwhile, there were two new cases in managed isolation after a traveller from Malaysia who arrived in the country on August 17 tested positive on day three in Christchurch. A second international traveller with their full travel history yet to be confirmed tested positive in Auckland on arrival.

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