The inability to quickly contain the Mt Roskill mini-cluster is holding up a move to alert level 1, and the Government should consider unholstering its power to force people into quarantine.
Discounting the cases connected to the Evangelical Fellowship Church, the number of community cases in the past eight days are: 0, 0, 1 (already in isolation, so a minimal chance of spreading Covid-19), 0, 1, 0, 1, 0.
Such a string would make moving to level 1 after September 16 more likely than the actual string of cases outside of MIQ: 6, 4, 2, 4, 2, 3, 1, 3.
But the real kicker is the sub-cluster of 22 people (revised up from 14 yesterday) that was sparked when an infectious person of the church congregation visited the home of a bereaved family.
Health chief Ashley Bloomfield described this as the "only additional tentacle" in the mini-cluster so far, but that tentacle has already spread to a bus driver, a St Dominic's Catholic College student, and potentially the homes and workplaces of others who were at the home or tangi.
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New cases are not so worrisome if they are already in isolation.
But Auckland was at level 2.5 last week, so 22 infected people - and more potentially infectious close contacts still yet to be traced - have been going about their daily business for up to 10 days, including going to school and driving public transport.
The risk of community spread was one of the reasons why the current alert level settings were prolonged. The most recent case in the Botany group tested positive last Tuesday, Auckland's second day out of lockdown lite.
In an ideal world, people are identified and tested early, and their close contacts are traced and isolated as quickly as possible. A group of potentially infectious people can be ring-fenced within days.
It already took a few days from the student's symptoms on Friday until a positive test was returned on Tuesday.
And today marks two weeks since the public alert went out from the Auckland Regional Public Health Service about three church services and a wedding at the Evangelical Fellowship Church.
The group's "contacts" circle was originally 468 people, but is now hundreds more.
And more than 700 close contacts for the whole outbreak were identified after Auckland came out of lockdown lite.
The mini-cluster's reluctance to get tested and to disclose close contacts has not helped.
It may not be deliberate, but Health Minister Chris Hipkins called in the police yesterday to ensure we are "getting the sort of co-operation we really need".
That will lend the operation significant weight, and is timely given Bloomfield's request today for everyone in the church's fellowship to be retested.
Hipkins also talked about the challenges in the mini-cluster with those who don't accept the science.
The consequence of these challenges is that Covid-19 has now spread in the community, meaning the tail of the outbreak may continue for weeks longer than it otherwise would have.
The Government's messaging has been clear about the deadliness of Covid-19 and the seriousness of the outbreak, and it can do little to stop the spread of misinformation or disinformation.
But it is not powerless when it comes to people it suspects of having Covid-19 who refuse testing, who might meet up with others when they're supposed to be isolating, or who may not be co-operating fully.
The power to forcibly quarantine people under the Health Act would be a huge lever to pull, as it could deter people from getting tested in the first place.
But if the Government feels there is too much at stake - and there are ongoing challenges with the Mt Roskill group - that lever remains an option.