As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Sunday, November 14

The Ministry of Health has reported one COVID-19 death and a daily record 207 cases in New Zealand on Sunday, as the Delta variant continues to spread through the North Island.

Two more cases of COVID-19 were earlier detected in Lakes District while two infections have been found in Tararua.

What you need to know:

  • There are 207 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday - 192 in Auckland, seven in Waikato, two in Northland, four in Lakes and two in MidCentral. Those two MidCental cases were the infections in Tararua announced earlier.
  • Tararua recorded two cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and two more infections have been found in Lakes District - both in Rotorua.
  • Total number of cases has now exceeded 5500 for the Delta outbreak
  • Ninety people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care
  • Eight-one percent of New Zealanders aged over 12 years are now fully vaccinated and 90 percent have had one dose
  • 12 police staff are isolating after coming into contact with two positive cases in Rotorua
  • Keep up-to-date with the latest locations of interest here.

These live updates have finished.

7:35pm - Testing sites were flooded today as COVID-19 further spread more throughout the North Island.

The Rotorua mayor is nervous but optimistic about the new cases.

"We've been saying 'when' not 'if' it will come - so this was a bit of kick in guts but we are prepared for it," Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick said.

Read and watch the full story from Newshub's Alexa Cook here.

7:05pm - The Hawke's Bay DHB says positive cases in Taupō and the Tararua district is a "timely reminder" that the virus is on their doorstep.

HBDHB medical officer of health Dr Nicholas Jones urges anyone feeling unwell, particularly if they have travelled to Taupō, Rotorua, or nearby Tararua district townships of Woodville, Pahiatua, Fielding or Dannevirke recently, to go and get tested.

Recent travellers to these districts are asked to keep an eye on potential locations of interest.

"This is yet another reminder that COVID-19 could be in Hawke's Bay before we know it, which means it is critical people who develop symptoms, no matter how mild, get tested as soon as symptoms develop," Dr Jones says.

"It's important to get tested even if you are fully vaccinated as vaccinated people can get mild illness. The earlier we detect any spread of COVID-19, the more effective our response can be in stamping it out." 

More no-appointment testing opportunities will be opened up across the region in the coming days, Dr Jones says. This will include no-appointment testing at Tuki Tuki Medical Centre in Waipukurau, which will start from tomorrow.

Dr Jones encourages anyone unvaccinated to get protected and vaccinated this weekend.

"The virus is getting closer to Hawke's Bay and getting vaccinated is the best protection we have," he says.

"People who are vaccinated are less likely to get sick with the virus, less likely to pass it on, and are much less likely to get seriously ill or require hospitalisation if they do get it. It's one of the best things you can do to protect yourself, your whānau and our community."

6:15pm - There are two new locations of interest. They are:

  • Sacred Heart Dargaville Parish, November 7 from 9am to 10:30am
  • Otorohanga Mini Mart, November 11 from 2:54pm to 4:04pm.

6pm - It's time for Newshub Live at 6pm for the latest on the COVID-19 outbreak. Watch online here or on Three.

5:35pm - National's health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says Northlanders are tired of incomplete information, delayed results, and late notification of locations of interest for almost all its positive COVID-19 cases in the current outbreak.

"The lack of transparency started with the two women who first came into Northland with COVID and continues for nearly every single one of the active cases," he says.

"The Minister of Health must explain why the two women's test results went missing for 48 hours. Chris Hipkins said the delay was due to the tests being taken late on the Wednesday evening, but his own answers to my questions show the tests were actually in the laboratory by lunchtime that same day and were not being taken late in the evening on the Wednesday as he claimed.

"These two tests, that were in the lab on Wednesday morning, then mysteriously didn't appear again in the lab system until Friday morning. How is that possible? What happened in the intervening 48 hours for these crucial results? It can't be due to a lack of testing equipment because, on the Friday, other test results took 90 minutes to get.

"Not only is it unacceptable to have positive tests delayed that long, but the Minister has blatantly been caught out saying one thing when the machine evidence tells a different story."

Dr Reti says mandates and lockdowns require trust in the Government, and giving "no information or half-truths" gives Northlanders a "reason to not have any trust in Jacinda Ardern and her Government".

5:05pm - A record number of returnees left MIQ today as new requirements came into action.

Returnees who have been in MIQ for seven or more days are able to leave from today since travellers now only need to spend seven days in a facility, followed by at-home isolation until a day nine negative test is received.

Brigadier Rose King, joint head of MIQ, says over 2400 of eligible people are leaving MIQ today, which is about eight-times more than they'd normally see depart each day.

"This is the largest release in the history of MIQ, and a great logistical effort as we organise test results, health checks and transport back to the point of arrival for each person," she says.

Data from today:

  • Number of people released so far today (as at 4pm): 2160  
  • Number of people still to be released today: 274 (all in Auckland)
  • Number of people approved to stay another night (to allow for travel on Monday): 96.

"I want to thank all those returnees who are departing today for their patience and cooperation. I also want to thank MIQ staff for their extraordinary effort. I'm immensely proud of the crucial role they play in protecting our communities from the further spread of COVID-19," King says.

4:40pm - Aucklanders are flocking to the Balmoral/Dominion Rd testing centre.

Queues are huge, says Newshub's Mitch McCann, and the longest he's ever seen there.

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Sunday, November 14
Photo credit: Newshub.
As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Sunday, November 14
Photo credit: Newshub.

4:20pm - There is one new location of interest. It is:

  • The Warehouse Te Kuiti, November 5 from 6:39pm to 7:21pm.

3:50pm - There are some DHBs that are due to reach the 90 percent first dose vaccination rate in the coming days.

Six DHBs have surpassed this already: Waitemata, Auckland, Counties Manukau, Capital and Coast, Canterbury, and Southern.

But more are very close to hitting 90 percent. Hutt Valley needs just 69 more doses and Wairarapa just 521.

There are four DHBs left to hit the 85 percent first-dose mark. These are:

  • Northland
  • Lakes
  • Tairawhiti
  • Whanganui.

A full breakdown of DHBs' vaccination rates is available here.

3:20pm - ACT leader David Seymour says with widespread vaccine mandates due to come in soon, regular testing should be allowed as an alternative to vaccination.

"The ACT caucus is as pro-vaccination as anyone and we share the frustration of many that some people won’t get vaccinated. I personally wish they would just do it, but the Government's blunt approach to mandates has gone too far now," he says.

"There is a meanness in the Government's tone towards vaccination that is not good for social cohesion in the long term. We were once a team of five million uniting against COVID-19, Ardern's ‘my way or the highway' approach to vaccine mandates is undoing that unity and replacing it with division."

Seymour says he's heard stories about people set to miss out on services due to the mandates.

"I was approached by a group of women losing their beloved hydrotherapy instructor, who does not want to be vaccinated, from Monday. A mental health worker asked me, can I not intervene in a suicide because I’m not vaccinated? Pregnant women say they'd rather have an unvaccinated midwife than no midwife. It goes on," he says.

"Good policy gets to the heart of the problem it's trying to solve, then asks what the best way to solve the problem is. The point of vaccine mandates is to save hospital capacity by lifting vaccination rates generally, and prevent unvaccinated people from passing COVID on to others. 

"Mandates in specific sectors are a blunt way to lift overall rates, that should be done by an efficient roll out boosting availability, and incentives. Regular testing can provide as much if not more reassurance to people encountering essential workers that they are safe."

Seymour says it is ACT's preferred policy to allow businesses to decide their own policy for vaccination, and the option of regular testing as a substitute can be built into that. But if the Government is going to continue with sector-wide mandates, then it should allow the choice of testing.

"The Government should avert chaos, worker shortages, and division by delaying its mandate policy until its app is ready. The requirement for working in a mandated workplace should be the same as getting on an Air New Zealand plane. Be vaccinated, or have a negative COVID test result less than 72-hours old," Seymour says.

"The Government should build a test validation function into its vaccine passport app. Better still, Jacinda should use her relationship with Mette Fredericksen, get on the phone, and ask to borrow the Danish model for New Zealand."

Denmark has an app that shows a person is either vaccinated, recently tested, or has recently recovered from COVID-19.

"A vaxx/test mandate is not giving up on vaccination. I suspect many people, after a few weeks of testing twice a week, will opt to get vaccinated after all. However, at this point we need continuity and unity over chaos and division," Seymour says.

2:50pm - Twelve police staff are self-isolating after coming into contact with two people who tested positive for COVID-19 in Rotorua overnight.

"The police staff came into contact with the two people when responding to a call for service yesterday afternoon," a police spokesperson says.

"For privacy reasons, further information regarding this call for service will not be provided."

Police were told by the district health board at around 8pm last night that the two people had tested positive for COVID-19.

"All staff that came into contact with them have been tested and are currently awaiting results. They are self-isolating as a precaution until results are received," police say.

"Arrangements have been made to redeploy other staff to cover until these officers are able to return to work."

2:20pm - There are six new locations of interest. They are:

  • Kmart Hamilton, November 6 from 11:31am to 12:15pm
  • Pak'nSave Mill Street, November 6 from 12:10pm to 1:10pm
  • Challenge Petrol Station Greytown, November 6 from 2:55pm to 4:10pm
  • Pita Pit Taupo, November 12 from 11:45am to 1:10pm
  • Farmlands Pahiatua, November 12 from 3:30pm to 4pm
  • Caltex Woodville, November 13 from 9am to 9:30am.

2pm - As reported earlier today, there are two cases confirmed in Rotorua after a person needed care at Rotorua Hospital for a non-COVID-19 health matter and subsequently returned a positive test result.

The person was not in contact with any other patients because they were placed in a room set aside for possible COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of Health says, and the person was managed with appropriate infection prevention protocols. Two healthcare workers involved have been tested and are now isolating.

The second case is a household contact of the first. Based on current information there is a link to cases in Auckland, the ministry says.

This brings the total number of cases in the region to six.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms is urged to get tested. Testing is available today at the following locations:

  • Rotorua COVID-19 Community Testing Centre, Kahukura Clubrooms, 1475 Pukatua St, 9am to 3pm
  • Taupō COVID-19 Community Testing Centre, 79 Miro St 9am to 3pm
  • Taupō Event Centre, AC Baths Ave, 8.30am to 3pm.

1:40pm - Below is the latest COVID-19 vaccination data.

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Sunday, November 14
Photo credit: Ministry of Health

1:35pm - The Ministry of Health says locations of interest resulting from the Tararua COVID-19 cases will be published this afternoon.

1:30pm - Below is the Ministry of Health's latest COVID-19 developments in Auckland, still the epicentre of the Delta outbreak.

We are continuing to urge anyone with symptoms, no matter how mild, to get a test. There are 15 community testing centres available for testing across Auckland today.

The testing centres at Northcote, Balmoral, and Wiri are continuing to operate extended hours to increase access to testing in those areas.

Public health staff are supporting 3972 people to isolate at home - this includes 1773 cases.

1:25pm - According to the Ministry of Health, the family of the woman who died in North Shore Hospital was regularly updated and was able to speak with her over the phone.

"The woman was admitted on November 6 from Edmonton Meadows Care Home where there has been an outbreak with 25 cases of COVID-19 in staff and residents.

"She was a confirmed case before admission to hospital."

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Sunday, November 14
Photo credit: Ministry of Health

1:21pm - A woman in her 90s with COVID-19 has died in North Shore Hospital and there are a daily record 207 new cases on Sunday, the Ministry of Health says.

"The woman had a number of underlying health conditions and had COVID-19," a ministry spokeswoman said.

"Our thoughts are with her whānau at this deeply sad time.

"Her underlying health conditions and the state of her health meant it was not clinically appropriate for her to receive ventilator or ICU care."

1:12pm - Still no word from the Ministry of Health with the latest COVID-19 cases. The news release was due at 1pm, as per usual. We'll bring you it as soon as it comes to hand.

12:45pm - While we wait for today's COVID-19 update, click here for yesterday's coronavirus developments.

12:30pm - Stand by for an update from the Ministry of Health. We're expecting a news release on the latest COVID-19 case numbers at 1pm and we'll bring you those details as soon as they come to hand.

12pm - A recap of what we've learned in the past hour is below:

COVID-19 is quickly spreading across the North Island with new cases in both Rotorua and Tararua.

A pair in Rotorua tested positive for the virus after one of them went to hospital for an unrelated matter.

Lakes District Health Board says the cases had no contact with other patients but two DHB workers are isolating.

The cases are linked to the original Auckland outbreak, the Ministry of Health says.

Meanwhile, both Tararua cases are linked to each other but have yet to be connected to the Auckland outbreak - with investigations ongoing.

The Ministry of Health will release more details shortly, with a case update expected at 1pm. 

11:35am - Below is a list of COVID-19 testing centres open in both Tararua and Lakes.

Tararua District

  • Dannevirke Hospital, Barraud St, 2 - 5pm
  • Pahiatua Medical Centre 11:30am - 3.30pm (drive through)
  • Woodville Medical Centre 11:30am - 3:30pm (drive through)
  • Horowhenua After Hours 9am - 4:30pm
  • Feilding Health Centre 9am - 12pm
  • 575 Main St, Palmerston North 10am - 5pm
  • City Doctors White Cross, 22 Victoria Ave, Palmerston North 8am - 8pm
  • The Palms Medical Centre, 445 Ferguson St, Palmerston North 8am - 8pm

    Lakes District

  • Rotorua COVID-19 Community Testing Centre, Kahukura Clubrooms, 1475 Pukatua St,  9am to 3pm
  • Taupō COVID-19 Community Testing Centre, 79 Miro St 9am to 3pm
  • Taupō Event Centre, AC Baths Ave, 8.30am to 3pm
  • Pihanga Health, 28 Te Rangitautahanga Rd, Turangi, 11am to 1pm

11:25am - Below is what we've just received from the Ministry of Health regarding the Tararua COVID-19 cases. All other cases will be reported in the ministry's daily update, expected via a news release at 1pm.

In addition, two cases have been reported overnight in the Tararua district, covered by MidCentral DHB. Both cases reported feeling unwell on Friday, November 12, sought prompt testing and are now self-isolating at home.

The cases are linked and the local Public Health Unit is still investigating any links between these cases and other known cases.

Contact tracing is underway for all four of these cases and locations of interest will be added to the Ministry of Health's website when they become available.

Anyone living in these areas or any recent visitors with COVID-19 related symptoms, no matter how mild, should get tested.

11:20am - The Ministry of Health says the second Lakes District case is a hoisehold contact of the first.

11:15am - Lakes District has recorded two more cases of COVID-19, both in Rotorua. One of them attended Rotorua Hospital.

COVID-19 has also spread to Tararua with two infections confirmed there.

"The two Lakes District cases were detected after a person sought care at Rotorua Hospital for a non-COVID health matter and subsequently returned a positive test result," the Ministry of Health said in a statement. "The person was not in contact with any other patients as they were placed in a room set aside for possible COVID-19 cases. The person was managed with appropriate infection prevention protocols.

"Two healthcare workers involved have also been tested and are now isolating."