There are six new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, all of which are linked to the Mt Roskill "mini-cluster", director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield says.

A baby boy and three other children are among the six cases.

The total number of cases linked to the mini-cluster - connected to the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship Church - is now 43. There is a sub-cluster of 14 within that which is linked to a funeral on September 2 and visits to the household of the bereaved.

All the close contacts, including all 48 people at the funeral, from those events are in isolation and are being tested.


Bloomfield said a member of the church's congregation had unwittingly infected the sub-cluster during a visit to the home of the bereaved. The person had been tested but was still awaiting the result.

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Four of today's cases are linked to the bereaved family.

Bloomfield said the sub-cluster could push out the tail of the current outbreak by weeks - but that can be mitigated by quickly tracing and isolating the close contacts.

The size of the group associated with the Mt Roskill mini-cluster had grown by hundreds since it was first detected - there were 108 contacts identified with the bereavement sub-cluster alone.

He did not know how many people in the current outbreak had been infected in the community rather than while isolating, but he added that most of the infected cases had been household contacts.

"This grouping that's appeared around this bereavement is the only additional tentacle from the Mt Roskill grouping."

Many in the church group had already been tested, but Bloomfield was now asking all members of the fellowship to be retested - and even people associated with church members.


"People should be tested even if they have no symptoms."

This wider testing was about containing the wider outbreak, he said.

Bus driver tests positive

Two positive cases reported yesterday - a student from St Dominic's Catholic School and a bus driver for the northern express bus service - are part of the sub-cluster.

The bus travels between the central city and at least as far as Albany.

The driver had worked on September 3 and 4, but was wearing a mask and gloves and didn't have symptoms at that time.

There are no close contacts, but HOP card data is being used to identify passengers, who will be notified and should be tested if they develop symptoms.


Auckland Regional Public Health Service will reveal details of the bus journeys.

Bloomfield said all members of the school community will be tested because there could have been in contact in the corridors.

Mini-cluster meeting dispersed under lockdown lite

Bloomfield said there was some reluctance from the Mt Roskill mini-cluster to be tested at first.

This morning Health Minister Chris Hipkins said that was down to some of them not accepting the science, but Bloomfield said there were a number of reasons not to get tested.

That included whether people believed Covid-19 is a "real thing", and how invasive the test was.

He said there was now "good engagement" with that community and a willingness to be tested.


There was a meeting of mini-cluster people on August 15, when Auckland was in level 3, and Bloomfield said police had showed up and asked that meeting to disperse.

"I don't believe there was any investigation as such."

He said he wasn't aware of any people in the mini-cluster refusing to go into isolation, though some had "not immediately welcomed" the idea about going into a quarantine facility.

Using the Health Act to force people into quarantine remained a possibility, he added, and that was the legal authority under which some people in the community had been moved into quarantine.

Two people in ICU

Since August 11, the contact tracing team has identified 3346 close contacts of cases, of which 3305 have been contacted and are self-isolating.

There are 74 people linked to the community cluster who remain in the Auckland quarantine facility, which includes 58 people who have tested positive and their household contacts.

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Today there are four people in hospital with Covid-19.

Two are in ICU, one at North Shore and one at Waikato hospital.

There are now 125 active cases in New Zealand. Of those, 43 are imported cases in MIQ facilities, and 82 are community cases.

Yesterday 8363 tests were processed.

Bloomfield said contact tracers needed to be able to trace people quickly to stop Covid-19 from rapidly spreading, but they depended on people sharing where they've been and who they've been with.

There are now 2,161,200 users of the NZ Covid Tracer app, which is being updated again today to make scanning QR codes easier.


Bloomfield said there was still good capacity to continue wide testing at level 2.5/2.

He said a false positive in Christchurch was someone who travelled to New Zealand for the terrorist sentencing. He spent 14 days in managed isolation and then had two further tests after leaving managed isolation.

The first was negative, and the person then tested positive at a community testing centre, when there was a "strong impression" that the infection was old rather than active.

Rydges Hotel maintenance worker

Bloomfield said the maintenance worker at Rydges Hotel was likely infected in a one-off event by using the elevator at the hotel. The case is now closed. No close contacts - both in the household and workplace - tested positive.

Last night, a student at St Dominic's Catholic College was confirmed as having Covid-19.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins revealed this morning that the student was a previously undisclosed close contact of the Mt Roskill mini-cluster.


He added that the mini-cluster had been "challenging" because some within it "don't accept or haven't previously accepted the science", and police had been brought in to ensure we're "getting the sort of cooperation we really need".

A person who works at Auckland's Māori public health unit, Hapai Te Hauora, has also tested positive.