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COVID-19 Response Update

Update from the Ministry of Health: Latest update on the outbreak and vaccination roll-out and viewings of tūpāpaku now allowed under Alert Level 4

Rere atu taku manu, kawea ngā mihi maioha ki ngā tōpito katoa o te motu, tēnā rā koutou katoa. Today marked the first day of Spring and the first day of Alert Level 3 for those of us south of Tāmaki Makaurau. It also marked another significant milestone in our fight against COVID – all whānau aged 12 and over are now eligible to book in for their vaccinations. This is great news for our communities, and I’m excited to see how numbers grow as a result. While we’re celebrating this milestone, I know some of our whānau in Tâmaki will still be responding to the recent flooding. Nā reira kei te whakaaro tonu au ki a koutou. As a reminder, emergency situations override Alert Level rules. If you’ve moved whare to keep safe, kei te pai tērā. If you’re out and about cleaning up, ka pai hoki tērā. Just make sure to maintain physical distance from others and follow basic hygiene measures to keep yourself safe. Additionally, tradespeople are still able to work on your whare to make sure it’s safe for your whānau. So, if you need help, please reach out. Latest update on the outbreak

  • There are 75 new cases of COVID-19 in the community to announce today. All but one is in Tāmaki Makaurau. The remaining case is in Pōneke. This brings the total number of community cases to 687.

  • The latest case in Pōneke is a household contact of an existing case, and this person has been in isolation since the 24th of August.

  • One thing to note with this case is that the person had returned three negative tests before returning a positive test, and they remain asymptomatic. This re-emphasises the importance of a close contact or very close contact seeing that 14 day period through and having the day 12 test.

  • This latest bounce in numbers is not unexpected. We saw this last April where we went up and down over a few days before numbers began to steadily decline. Heoi anō, I’ll be watching carefully and will keep you updated.

Update on the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out

  • Yesterday, 84,971 vaccines were administered to whānau throughout the motu. Of these 57,733 were first doses and 27,238 were second doses.

  • More than 3.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to date. Of these, over 2.29 million are first doses and more than 1.21 million are second doses.

  • For the Māori roll-out, more than 208,000 Māori have received their first vaccination and over 108,000 have also had their second vaccinations.

  • This means 37 percent of the Māori population has had one dose of the vaccine and 19 percent are fully vaccinated.

  • I want to mihi to our kaumātua over 65 who have gone to get vaccinated – 82 percent of that group have had one dose of the vaccine and 68 percent have had two doses.

  • This is both encouraging and challenging for our younger populations. Let’s follow in the footsteps of our kaumātua, and make sure all our whānau book in for their vaccines ASAP.

  • You can do this online, or by calling 0800 28 29 26.

Viewings of tūpāpaku now allowed at Alert Level 4

  • Last night, the Alert Level 4 guidelines for tangihanga were amended to allow for viewings of tūpāpaku at funeral homes. You can view these on the Ministry of Health website.

  • Whānau from the same household bubble are now able to go into a funeral home to view the tūpāpaku. They will need to book this in advance and there are strict requirements that funeral directors need to follow. Funeral directors will work with whānau to make sure viewings are carried out in a safe way. Everyone who attends a viewing must wear a face covering.

  • I want to reemphasise that viewings can only take place at funeral homes under the current guidance. Tūpāpaku may not be transported from the funeral home for viewing purposes at any time.

  • I know this late change will be difficult for our whānau who have already buried a loved one under previous Alert Level 4 conditions. We are continuing to work with public health experts, funeral directors, and whānau Māori to ensure the guidelines are practical but also able to keep our people safe during this pandemic. Delta has presented new challenges, so we’re constantly checking our guidance to make sure it’s fit for purpose.

  • I will keep you updated on any changes to tangihanga guidelines (both Alert Level 4 and Alert Level 3) as they’re made.

Keeping safe at Alert Level 3

  • I know it can be exciting to step down in Alert Levels, but it’s crucial we don’t lose any of the gains made in the past two weeks.

  • The Delta variant of COVID-19 is more infectious and moves faster, so we all need to take further precautions to keep safe.

  • This means wearing face coverings, keeping a record of visits, and maintaining physical distance of at least 2-metres when outside the whare.

  • We also need to keep up our tikanga hauora, including washing our hands, coughing or sneezing into our elbows, and regularly cleaning surfaces.

  • Lastly, if you’re mâuiui, please stay home. If you have cold, flu, or COVID symptoms, please call your health provider or Healthline and ask about getting tested.

  • More information about Alert Level 3 is available on the Unite Against COVID website.

_____________ Please remind your friends and whānau to get information on COVID-19 and the vaccine from our trusted sources – the Ministry of Health, Unite Against COVID, and Karawhiua channels. For guidance on protecting yourself and your whānau from COVID-19 misinformation and scams, visit the Unite Against COVID website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or my team at: maorihealth@health.govt.nz Mā te Atua tātou e tiaki i runga i ngā tini āhuatanga o te wā. Nāhaku me aku mihi aroha, Nā John Whaanga Deputy Director-General | Māori Health Directorate