There are nine new Covid-19 cases in NZ today – eight of them linked to the Auckland cluster.

The other case is in MIQ in Auckland.

Eight of the cases are confirmed and one is probable, director general of health Ashley Bloomfield says.

There are 10 people in hospital, including two in intensive care at Middlemore.

One of today’s eight cases in the community had contact with a confirmed case on a bus – the others are from the workplace, households or church contacts.

The Auckland cluster is now the largest in NZ’s Covid-19 history.

One of the cases under investigation will be genome sequenced today as an epidemiological link couldn’t be found.

Testing latest

Bloomfield was asked about a family waiting nine days for a test result and he said that was “too long”, but it would “almost certainly” be a negative result as positive results are notified immediately.

Bloomfield said everyone in isolation who’d initially been tested are now again tested at day 12.

There are 1332 confirmed Covid-19 cases in NZ. There are 123 active cases – 19 of these are in MIQ.

There are 2300 close contacts of the cases in the community – 2249 of whom have been contacted.

One hundred and fifty-one people who are connected to the cluster have moved into MIQ.

There were 4589 tests processed yesterday. Bloomfield said the lower number reflected the fact it was a Sunday.

About 100,000 tests have been processed in the last seven days and 1.77 million people have now downloaded the Covid Tracer app – about 43 per cent of population aged over 15.

There are over a million poster scans a day.

Last piece of the puzzle

Bloomfield is revealing the last piece of the puzzle as Cabinet decides whether to shift alert levels.

The latest case numbers – and whether they can be traced to the cluster – are some of the factors ministers will consider.

Bloomfield will give his recommendation to Cabinet based on the latest testing results.

Before deciding whether to move Auckland out of alert level 3 and the rest of the country out of alert level 2, ministers will also weigh-up:

• the types of cases,

• the strength of contact-tracing and border controls,

• the health system’s capacity,

• effects on the economy and the level of public compliance.

Yesterday, there were 114 active cases, with 19 in managed isolation and quarantine. Of the nine people in hospital, six people are stable and three are in ICU in Middlemore.

Three cases were still under investigation, including the Rydges maintenance worker, so the total number of cases in the community is 96.

Otago University epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker yesterday said a lockdown extension would ensure a downward trend in cases was sustained.

Baker said while the three cases still being investigated weren’t necessarily a red flag as they may still be linked to other cases, it would be more reassuring to have a longer period of few cases because test results are generally an indication of the presence of Covid-19 from a week ago.

“If we saw noughts and ones in the next few days between now and Wednesday, you could consider dropping down a level, but that may be still a bit too soon.”

The falling number of new community cases – nine on Friday, six on Saturday and one yesterday – was “good news”, according to Auckland University Professor Shaun Hendy.

But he said his team’s modelling showed that level 3 should be extended in Auckland “to be really sure”.