There are 215 new cases of Covid-19 in the Delta community outbreak.
Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield gave the update in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
There are new cases in Auckland (181), Waikato (18), Bay of Plenty (12), Northland (3) and one in Canterbury, the latter of which is a historical case and is no longer considered infectious.
Eighty-seven people are in hospital with Covid-19 on Wednesday, eight of whom are in intensive care or high-dependency care units.
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Of those in hospital in the Northern Region, 47 cases (57 per cent) were unvaccinated or not eligible, due to their age.
The average age of those in hospital is 46.
The Ministry of Health is now reporting the vaccination status of those who have died in the Delta outbreak.
Of the 15 deaths recorded to date, 10 were unvaccinated, two had one dose less than 14 days before they contracted Covid-19 and three were fully vaccinated (at least 14 days prior to contracting Covid-19).
Bloomfield reiterated that, as our vaccination rates rise, so too will the number of cases cropping up who have been fully vaccinated – simply by virtue of the numbers.
Of the 215 cases reported on Wednesday, 118 are yet to be epidemiologically linked to an existing case.
In the past 14 days, 920 cases remain unlinked.
Of the cases reported on Tuesday, 128 were in isolation while they were infectious and have no exposure events. Seventy-four did have exposure events.
There are three new cases reported in Northland today – two in Kaitaia (one of which is unlinked) and one in Whangārei – and several new locations of interest.
Of the 12 new cases in Bay of Plenty, six are known close contacts and were already in isolation.
Interviews with three cases are under way to determine the source of their infection, including one case in Eastern Bay of Plenty.
More than 35,468 Covid tests were processed in the past 24 hours – the highest daily testing total since late August.
Public health teams are managing 6350 active contacts as of Wednesday.
Of these, 68 per cent have received an outbound call from contact tracers to confirm testing and isolation requirements, and 73 per cent have had at least one test result.
There were 18,880 doses administered on Tuesday, made up of 6496 first doses and 12,384 second doses.
To date, 92 per cent of eligible people in New Zealand have had their first dose and 84 per cent are fully vaccinated.
The new cases bring the total in the Delta outbreak to date to 7484.
It comes as Hipkins announced sweeping changes to “carefully” reopen New Zealand’s border, coming into force in early 2022.
From 11.59pm on January 16, fully vaccinated New Zealanders and eligible travellers from Australia will be allowed into the country without going through MIQ.
From midnight on February 13, fully vaccinated New Zealanders will be able to travel from all other countries.
From April 30, New Zealand will start to reopen to all fully vaccinated travellers – not just New Zealand citizens or residents.
Hipkins said all travellers not required to go into MIQ will need to isolate at home for seven days, with a Covid-19 test required on arrival and a final negative test needed before entering the community.
They would also need a negative pre-departure test, proof they are fully vaccinated, and a declaration about their travel history.
“A phased approach to reconnecting with the world is the safest approach,” Hipkins said.
Indonesia, Fiji, Pakistan, India and Brazil will also be removed from the “very high risk” list in early December, allowing people from these countries to fly directly into New Zealand, he said. Papua New Guinea will continue to be classified as a very high-risk country.