New Zealand struggles as Delta moves south

New Zealand Struggles As Delta Moves South

The New Zealand Delta outbreak has spread south into the poorly vaccinated region of Taranaki, where six new cases have been reported.

Three adults and three children were found with COVID-19 in the North Island town of Stratford, with health officials saying they were not following regulations and using the government’s contact tracing system.

“One of the people involved in this cluster said it was the sickest they’d ever been and I think that’s when the penny dropped and they agreed to testing,” Taranaki’s medical officer Jonathan Jarman told Radio NZ.

“All of Stratford should see itself as an interesting location and if anyone has symptoms that they need to get tested, we need to get on top of this as soon as possible.”

Wastewater tests previously showed that COVID-19 was present in Stratford, but officials were unable to identify those infected.

Officials are convinced there is a link to the larger outbreak in Auckland, where thousands of Kiwis are currently infected.

The new cases pose a public health problem as the area is not closed off and vaccination rates lag behind the rest of the country.

While 80 percent of New Zealanders over the age of 12 have been fully vaccinated, the number drops to 73 percent in Taranaki – including just 53 percent of Maori.

The number of cases is currently as high as ever in New Zealand, with 3,091 active infections.

Most of those cases have been isolated at home as the country’s quarantine regime has been overwhelmed by the rising number of cases.

The NZ Herald reports that officials have given up efforts to track down people who were briefly in the same place as those who tested positive, instead focusing on close and very close contacts.

Six Kiwis with COVID-19 have died in the past nine days: three in home isolation, one in hospital, one in a quarantine hotel and another reportedly murdered.

There are also currently 84 New Zealanders in hospital with the virus, 10 of which are in intensive care.

The Delta outbreak began in August when the virus leaked from a quarantine hotel via a traveler from NSW.

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