Auckland is not staring down the barrel of a return to alert level 3 because a worker at the Jet Park quarantine hotel tested positive yesterday.
Jacinda Ardern previously used a similar case - the Rydges maintenance worker - to illustrate how new cases wouldn't necessarily need a lockdown response. The Rydges worker and his close contacts were quickly ring-fenced and there was no onward transmission.
The Jet Park worker also underlines the importance of regular testing, without which they may be unwittingly spreading the virus in the community.
That might still have happened in the few days before they went into isolation, but the contact-tracing system should be more than capable of containing the transmission chain.
Whether it is more than capable of containing the rest of the current outbreak for a move to level 1 remains unclear.
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Two new cases today - including a health worker at Jet Park quarantine facility
• Covid-19 coronavirus: West Auckland school deemed safe to open after student tests positive
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Two new cases in New Zealand linked to Mt Roskill cluster
• Mt Roskill cluster: Two Waitematā DHB health workers test positive for Covid-19
The risk of undetected transmission
The key issue is whether the risk of community spread is too great for contact-tracing teams to stay ahead of.
People in isolation, either with the virus or their close contacts, pose little to no risk.
The Ministry of Health has identified eight locations visited by Covid-positive people since Auckland came out of lockdown lite. People who shared these spaces are considered low-risk casual contacts.
But there were three sites identified last night by the Auckland Regional Public Health Service, including three Les Mills classes where all the participants are close contacts.
They are now being been asked to stay at home, but the classes were on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, meaning they've all been at large in the community for a few days.
And then there are the 1000-odd Aucklanders who could have been carrying Covid-19 with them at level 2.5 before they were identified as close contacts after August 30 and told to isolate.
One of them, who tested positive on the second day of level 2.5, was part of the Botany group which Ardern specifically highlighted as a reason not to ease restrictions last time.
It's one of four groups that have the same Covid-19 strain as the wider Auckland cluster, but no epidemiological connection, meaning there are missing links in the chain of infection.
But there have been no cases in the Botany group since then, and all five cases in the group have now recovered.
Other groups - one connected to Dr Joe Williams' GP practice, and one connected to the North Shore ER patient - also have no recent cases, suggesting that those transmission chains are all but extinguished.
And then there is the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship group and the bereavement sub-cluster, which was sparked when an infectious church member visited a bereaved family's home on August 27.
Yesterday was the first day in weeks without a case linked to the sub-cluster, and 98 per cent of them have now been tested.
That's a good sign, but it's not the string of 0s and 1s that public health experts say are needed before we can be confident enough to ease restrictions.
Furthermore, the sub-cluster had 10 days to spread from the August 27 visit until its first case was discovered, so the long tail may yet have more to reveal.
The Ministry of Health could not say last night how many of the sub-cluster cases weren't already in isolation when they tested positive.
All of these elements weigh down the likelihood that Auckland is ready for looser restrictions.
But there remain signs for optimism.
We now have up to a week of data relating to Auckland's move out of level 3, and rather than exploding, case numbers continue to dwindle.
Testing has also remained high, with 90,000 tests since Auckland left level 3.
And the latest contact-tracing data - though it doesn't cover the last 10 days - shows that 94 per cent of close contacts were isolated within 48 hours of a positive test.
The system is working as it should. It just needs more time.
Easing restrictions for the rest of the country?
Other factors Cabinet will weigh up include economic costs and public willingness to be compliant, and ministers will be aware of recent headlines including the thousands-strong lockdown protest at the weekend, ongoing misinformation campaigns and earlier co-operation issues with the Mt Roskill group.
Cabinet will also grapple with whether to move the rest of the country to level 1, which NZ First leader and Deputy PM Winston Peters is already clamouring for.
If ski lift queues this weekend are anything to go by, many people outside Auckland are already in level 1 mentality.
The last case in the South Island was four months ago. It was three months ago for Wellington, and more than four months ago for all other North Island regions outside Auckland and Waikato (where cases in Tokoroa were linked to the Auckland cluster).
Struggling bars, clubs and concert venues in these areas have taken one on the chin by staying at level 2 for the sake of the risk posed by people travelling out of Auckland.
Level 2 offers some protection with social distancing and a 100-person limit on gatherings.
But with ongoing uncertainty about the Auckland cluster, it would be brave to the point of foolish to move the rest of New Zealand to level 1, where those protections vanish, without a travel ban in and out of Auckland.
The last time such a ban was in place, it created exemptions headaches for the Government.
If travel freedoms continue, expect protections outside Auckland to continue.
One of these days, the Government will decide that the border controls, testing and contact-tracing systems are good enough to move the whole country to level 1, even though community transmission may be continuing.
Today is almost certainly not that day, and not just for health reasons.
It's less than five weeks til the election, and Labour's re-election prospects would be severely dented if the dreaded alert level yo-yo reappeared before October 17.