The Auckland community outbreak has grown by one case today, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

The case is a household contact of a previous case in the South Auckland cluster, which brings the number of cases in the cluster to 93.

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

There are also 18 cases in managed isolation and quarantine, including two new cases to report today. The number of active cases in New Zealand is now 114.

The ministry release did not provide any further information about the two new cases reported yesterday as still under investigation, nor provide an update on the tracing of close contacts related to South Auckland church services that were attended by Covid-positive people.

There are 151 people linked to the cluster who have been moved into the Auckland quarantine facility, including 82 positive cases.

There are 2308 close contacts identified related to the current outbreak, of which 2219 have been contacted and are self-isolating. The remaining people are still being contacted.

The number of people in hospital – nine – has not changed since yesterday.

Two are in Auckland City Hospital, four in Middlemore, two people in North Shore Hospital and one person in Waikato Hospital.

Six people are stable on a ward, and three people in Middlemore are in ICU.

“We have heard reports of people who are reluctant to get an ambulance or go to hospital. Hospitals continue to be safe places to receive medical care, and people should feel confident going to hospital to receive treatment.”

There were 7005 tests processed yesterday, meaning about 190,000 tests have been conducted since the outbreak was detected.

Of the new imported cases, one is a woman in her 20s who arrived in New Zealand on August 16 from Croatia via Switzerland and Hong Kong. She has been in MIQ at the Sudima in Rotorua and has been transferred to MIQ at Jet Park after testing positive around day three of her stay.

The second case is a person in their 30s who has been in MIQ at the Grand Millennium in Auckland and tested positive around day 12 of their stay.

Changes to travel exemptions

From today, there have been two major changes to travel exemptions in and out of Auckland.

People can now transit through Auckland without stopping in order to travel for work. They must show evidence of the purpose of their travel and their departure point and destination, but an exemption is no longer required.

Existing class exemptions have also been added into the Public Health Response Order to make them more visible and clearer for people.

The ministry has received more than 10,300 applications for exemptions. More than 1500 applications have been approved and about 400 declined.

Patients who need to travel into Auckland for hospital appointments do not need an exemption. In order to move through the regional border they will just need to produce identification and an appointment letter or similar evidence.

The Kingswood Rest Home in Morrinsville had now officially been cleared of any possible cases of Covid-19, the ministry said.

All aged-care facilities have been in lockdown since the start of the outbreak, given how vulnerable older people are to the virus.

Tomorrow is D-Day

Tomorrow Cabinet will meet to decide whether to change the current alert level settings of level 3 in Auckland and level 2 for the rest of the country.

Those settings are currently in place until 11.59pm on Wednesday.

Among the factors that will be considered are the number of new cases, whether they can be linked to the South Auckland cluster, and how the contact-tracing system has been performing.

Ministers will also consider the advice of director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

Yesterday’s numbers

Yesterday there were six new cases, four linked to the cluster and two still being investigated, bringing the total number of cases in this outbreak to 95.

The cluster has 92 cases, while three cases are still under investigation. One of them is the Rydges maintenance worker who might have caught Covid-19 after pushing the same lift button shortly after it was used by a Covid-infected person who had returned from the US.

With 16 cases in managed isolation and quarantine, the total number of active cases was 111.

Yesterday, health officials were reaching out to the 16 people who travelled on the 22N bus, between the Symonds St overbridge and Avondale, on August 12.

Two people with Covid-19 were on the bus.

Nine of 11 people considered close contacts on the bus had been identified and were being contacted. The other two didn’t use registered AT HOP cards.

“Our advice is that anyone who knows that they took the same bus as the confirmed cases between 10.30am and 1.04pm on August 12 should self-isolate, call Healthline (0800 358 5453) for advice and get tested as soon as possible,” the Auckland public health unit said.

Five others who travelled on the bus are not considered at risk as they got off before the cases boarded.

Other bus trips that the two Covid-infected people took are still being investigated.