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As most Kiwis enjoy some renewed freedom under Delta level 2, a probe is under way to find out how a patient displaying Covid-19 symptoms remained in a ward at Middlemore Hospital before ultimately testing positive.
Twenty-nine staff from Middlemore Hospital have been stood down for 14 days, and will undergo tests to see if they have the potentially-deadly Delta variant.
Health Minister Andrew Little this morning told Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB that the large number of staff having to be stood down as a precautionary move was a "significant" issue for the hospital.
He also said "questions still need to be answered" over how the patient remained in the ward once displaying Covid-like symptoms.
STORY CONTINUES AFTER LIVE BLOG:
Initial screening of the patient on his admittance included being asked if he had been at a Covid-19 location of interest. The man said they hadn't, meaning there was nothing to indicate that he was at risk of having Delta.
But the next morning he started displaying symptoms, Little said.
That included a fever.
But instead of being placed in isolation away from other patients, the man was left in the ward for several hours.
Talking to the AM show, Little said the patient was later swabbed for Covid and then put in a room where there was some distance and curtains separating him from the other patients.
Staff were all wearing PPE gear.
He said frontline staff were told to leave him where he was and the Ministry of Health was now investigating why that happened and whether it could have been handled differently.
"The advice to everybody if they have been tested for Covid because they are symptomatic is to isolate straight away that means being away from other people. The clinicians at this point made a different judgment. . . that's the judgment they made and this is the consequence we've now got."
Little was unsure about the availability of isolation rooms. It seemed like there initially wasn't one available for the Covid patient but subsequently some were found for the other three patients who were in the original room.
This morning, he wasn't aware of any other positive Covid tests including of staff linked to the Middlemore patient.
While officials try to find out why the Middlemore case was mishandled, all areas outside of the Auckland region have woken up to Delta level 2.
The level means masks in many indoor venues and smaller limits on gatherings, along with other measures to reduce the risk of any community transmission.
Mask use in schools is "highly recommended" but not compulsory.
New rules on scanning also applied at level 2 - mandatory scanning at bars, restaurants, cinemas, churches, hairdressers and anywhere where there was close contact between people.
As well, there is a limit of 50 people at hospitality and event venues, while outdoor venues can have up to 100 people. And distancing requirements had increased from one to two metres, meaning venues not captured by the crowd limits would also have reduced capacity at level 2.
Covid-19 analyst Rodney Jones told Newstalk ZB that the priority now had to be further reducing the spread of Delta in the Auckland region.
Yesterday, the total number of cases in the Delta outbreak stood at 841; 2824 in Auckland and 17 Wellington.
"We have to fix what we do in Auckland," Jones said.
And regardless of what happened in the Auckland region he said it would be several months before areas in New Zealand got back down to Level 1; where we were before Delta was detected in the community last month.
Amongst the 841 Delta cases in New Zealand as of 1pm yesterday, 40 are in hospital; including six in ICU or a high dependency unit.
There are eight patients in North Shore Hospital, 18 in Middlemore Hospital, and 14 in Auckland City Hospital with the virus.
Little confirmed current ICU capacity was 326 beds, but that number could increase if required to 550 beds.
Since the middle of last year more nurses had been trained who could work in ICU environments and DHBs had created space to allow more ICU beds. However, that was variable - not all DHBs had got on board.
Meanwhile, four new locations of interest have been released by health officials this morning.
They are the McKinnon Street Superette, in Mt Roskill, the Unichem Māngere East Pharmacy, Māngere Road, Māngere East, GAS Mascot Avenue, Māngere, and Orly Avenue Superette, 49 Orly Avenue, Māngere
Two of the new locations - GAS Mascot Ave and Orly Avenue Superette - were visited by a Covid case or cases on Sunday.
The Unichem Māngere East Pharmacy visit by a Covid case is now the latest location of interest visit - on Monday. The infected person or persons was at the pharmacy for five minutes - between 3.18pm and 3.23pm.
Despite the five-minute drop-in, anyone who was at the pharmacy at that time is told to self-monitor for Covid symptoms for 14 days. Health officials say If symptoms develop, get a Covid test and stay home until that result comes back.
The two Father's Day visits were both made in the morning, with the Covid positive case at the GAS Mascot Avenue petrol station between 7.45am and 8.50am.
The Orly Avenue Superette was linked to a Covid case for just over an hour between 7.30am and 8.40am.