The number of Covid-19 cases linked to a wedding in Bluff continues to escalate, with six new cases overnight meaning the cluster is now the largest in the country.
Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield announced today that that wedding has 87 cases total. Previously, Auckland's Marist cluster had the most cases, at 84. Marist had no new cases today.
Data revealed by the Herald this morning showed the extent spread of the infection linked to the wedding, with 25 cases linked to Bluff in the Waikato and 12 in Wellington.
Clusters have increasingly become the centre of the New Zealand coronavirus epidemic, overtaking overseas transmission as the main source of the virus.
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• Covid 19 coronavirus: Clusters continue to climb from Bluff wedding, St Patrick's Day party
Bloomfield said today it was important to ring-fence the clusters as quickly as possible, and being in lockdown had helped.
"We are confident we are on top of those clusters," he said.
He said a review of contact-tracing, done by Dr Ayesha Verrall, would be done today and he would speak with her later today.
The Ministry of Health defines a cluster as a group of Covid-19 cases linked because those infected were in the same place.
There are currently 12 "significant" clusters - those with more than 10 people, including two unnamed Auckland clusters which the Ministry of Health and the Auckland District Health Boards are refusing to identify.
One is a workplace cluster with 24 cases, and one a "private function" with 23 cases. The original source of transmission for these clusters is believed to be unknown.
Both are considered "active", which means the infection has not been contained.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said more information about those clusters - and their management - would be released today, however that has not happened.
The Herald has laid an urgent complaint with the Ombudsman about the lack of transparency with regard to those clusters - and Auckland DHB's refusal to release further information about cases from other clusters in its region - today.
Ombudsman Peter Boshier said the matter would be looked into immediately, and as of lunchtime had already been assigned to an investigator.
The Ministry and the DHB say the refusals are because of the need for privacy.
Up until last week, specific information about clusters including their exact location was published online.
Ardern said yesterday that approach changed because of a privacy breach by the ministry.
In that case, the ministry publicly identified two people in the Hutt Valley who had contracted coronavirus. It apologised over the blunder, in which the clusters were named after the victims on the ministry's website.
Overall, there were 29 new cases of Covid-19 since yesterday and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealanders had "saved lives" by staying at home over the past fortnight.
The new cases were made up of 23 new confirmed cases and six new probable cases.
There were no additional deaths to report, but there were 14 people in hospital and four people in ICU.
There were now 317 recovered cases – an increase of 35 on yesterday, higher than the number of new cases.
• Bluff wedding - 87, six new
• Marist College - 84, 0 new
• Matamata Bar - 64, two new
• World Hereford Conference Queenstown - 36, 3 new
• Auckland workplace - 24, - 1 new
• Auckland private function - 23, 3 new
• Christchurch rest home - 21, 1 new
• Group travel to US, Wellington - 19, 0 new
• Ruby Princess Cruise Ship, Hawke's Bay - 16, 0 new
• Group travel to US, Auckland - 15, 0 new
• Waikato rest home - 13, 0 new
• Wellington wedding - 13, 0 new