Local Government COVID-19 Response Update – Thursday 19 August 2021

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Here’s todays update

The Prime Minister announced on Tuesday 17 August that the whole of New Zealand will move to Alert Level 4 at 11.59pm, 17 August 2021. Auckland and Coromandel will be in Alert Level 4 for seven days, and the Alert Level for rest of the country will be reviewed after three days.

There was a 48-hour window to allow people to travel to get home. This window expires tonight, but this will be extended by 24 hours for air travel from Queenstown, and ferry travel over the cook strait.

A face covering must be worn:

on public transport and at departure points, for example train stations and bus stops

on flights

in taxi or ride-share vehicles — drivers and passengers

when visiting healthcare facilities

inside any Alert Level 4 businesses and services that are open and involve customer contact, including supermarkets, pharmacies and petrol stations. Staff must also wear masks.

The Public Health Response Order has been amended to reflect the face covering requirements: Amended Public Health Response Order (PDF, 339KB)

The Response Unit can be contacted at LGCGcovid19response@dia.govt.nz  if you have any specific queries.

Guidance for Alert Level 4 for local government – Updated for Thursday 19 August 2021

Here is updated guidance for local government based on recent decisions for COVID-19 Alert Level 4: Updated Guidance on Council Operations (PDF, 763KB)

This has been updated from yesterday’s version with two main additions:

MBIE has set up a call centre to specifically support queries related to Alert Level 4 businesses and services. This centre is contactable by email: AL4businessservices@mbie.govt.nz, and phone: 0800 424 946. This is where you can direct queries from local businesses and members of the public.

 MSD has clarified their advice around which social and community-based services can operate under Alert Level 4. These are:

Where the social service is the only way for people accessing food and other goods they need to survive

A social service that provides and supports a place for someone to live

A social service that supports disabled people to maintain critical wellbeing

Crisis support for people who are unsafe

We have focused on updating the guidance for Alert Level 4 at this stage. We will provide guidance for Alert Levels 3 and 2 when we need to in the future.

Update on vaccinations

COVID-19 vaccination centres re-opened today and will continue to operate under Alert Level 4 restrictions.

If you have a booking scheduled during lockdown and have not had any further communication from your vaccination provider, please show up to your booking as planned.

All people over the age of 40 are now eligible to book their vaccination, with all age groups available to book the vaccine from 1 September.

Medsafe NZ has now approved the Pfizer vaccine for young people between 12 – 15 years of age. These people will be eligible for vaccinations from 1 September, but from today if you are a caregiver of a 12-15-year-old and currently eligible to book your vaccine, you can book their vaccine at the same time as yours.

What we know about the current cases

There are 11 new COVID-19 cases identified today, taking the total number to 21, all in Auckland. 12 of the 21 cases are confirmed as being part of the initial cluster.

The initial positive case, Case A, was identified in Devonport, Auckland and travelled to Coromandel during 13–15 August. Initial testing shows the case may have been infectious since 12 August.

Genome sequencing has confirmed the cases are the Delta variant of COVID-19, and this outbreak is now confirmed to be linked to a traveller who arrived from NSW on a managed red zone flight on 7August. That person returned a positive day three test on 9 August and was moved from Crown Plaza to the Jet Park Facility.

This information means officials are now confident that the earliest the virus could have been transmitted into the community is 9 August.

The Ministry of Health are still investigating how the virus was transmitted into the community, either via the Crown Plaza or Jet Park MIQ facilities.

Locations of interest in both Coromandel township and Auckland are being updated on the Ministry of Health website and are being updated through Ministry of Health social media channels throughout the day.

Wastewater testing from 4 sites in Auckland have tested positive, with current confirmed cases in each of those catchments. Further wastewater testing across the rest of the country is currently being undertaken with results expected tomorrow.

Information on COVID-19 test sites and economic support

If you have cold and flu symptoms, please get tested. Available testing sites can be found here on the Ministry of Health website: Available testing sites, with more being stood up in Auckland.

Locations of interest can be found on the Ministry of Health website: Locations of Interest, and is being updated as soon as information is available. There is currently a section 70 notice in force, that requires anyone at a location of interest at the identified time to immediately isolate and get tested.

Economic assistance is available for those impacted by the lockdown, more information available on the COVID-19 website.

What Alert Level 4 means

Stay home and keep to your bubble. Your bubble is your household, and anyone that may be dependent on you.

Only leave home for essential services: visiting the super market, exercise, getting tested, or receiving urgent medical care.

When leaving home for essential exercise, please wear a mask and physically distance from those outside your bubble.

Keeping communities safe

Remember the golden rules:

  • Stay home, stick to your bubble
  • If you are feeling unwell, contact Healthline about a COVID-19 test
  • If you have to go out, make sure you wear a mask
  • Act as if you have COVID-19 and as if others around you do to
  • Wash your hands
  • Scan QR codes
  • Turn on Bluetooth tracing on the NZ COVID Tracer app

Epidemic notice remains in force

The following provisions will remain in place until the Principal Notice expires or is revoked:

the amendments to enable council meetings via audio or visual link to meet quorum requirements regardless of Council Standing Orders;

the provisions enabling council meetings to be open to the public through online access and to post meeting agendas, reports and minutes on council websites rather than physical locations;

new members of Council can continue to make their statutory declaration (oath of office) via audio or audio-visual link; and

the Order-in-Council mechanism for making further changes to by-election timing and provisions enabling local authority chief executives to delay the commencement of by-election timeframes.

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