24 new Covid community cases, 56 in MIQ

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
There are 24 Covid cases in the community  and 56 new ones detected at the border today as Cabinet ministers meet to discuss current measures.

Today's community cases are in Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Lakes, Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay and Wellington, the Ministry of Health announced in a statement.

Two cases in Hastings in Hawke’s Bay and one in Canterbury were notified after the Ministry’s reporting deadline and will be formally added to the tally tomorrow.

Both Hastings cases are linked to Tu Step Fitness Class at the Ascende Global Church and bring the number of active cases in the region to four.

The Canterbury case was linked to a previously reported case and already isolating at home when they tested positive.

There are 24 people in hospital today, including three in ICU or a high-dependency unit.

Yesterday, 13,028 child vaccine first doses were administered to 5 to 11-year-olds throughout New Zealand. Nearly 30,000 children in this age group now have greater protection against Covid-19.

Boosted airport worker gets Covid

In a statement this afternoon, the Ministry of Health said an Auckland airport worker, who is double vaccinated and has had a booster dose, tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday.

Whole genome sequencing for this case will be returned today however from an abundance of caution, the case is currently being managed as an Omicron case.

The airport worker was infectious from January 15 - but they were not at work while infectious. The case has one household contact who has returned an initial negative test result.

The first of the locations of interest linked with this case were being published on the Ministry's website.

Auckland MIQ worker 

A further 15 contacts among Stamford Plaza staff are currently isolating at home as contacts of a MIQ worker with Omicron and their co-worker.

The worker's household contact who returned a positive test yesterday is isolating at home. Two other household contacts are symptomatic but returned negative tests yesterday.

The Ministry said the border worker’s whole genome sequencing links them to a person who arrived in New Zealand on a flight that landed on January 8 and tested positive on Day 1 (January 9) of their stay at the Stamford Plaza and was transferred to MIQ on January 10.

"As of this morning, a total of 84 contacts have been identified in relation to the MIQ border worker. At this stage, 79 have returned negative test results and one household contact has returned a positive result, who was reported yesterday. The number of contacts can fluctuate as further investigation rules them out.

"Of the contacts identified in relation to the two bus journeys, there are four contacts yet to be reached. Two of these contacts have returned a negative test."

Omicron update

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins will speak to media mid-afternoon to explain why the latest MIQ room release was unexpectedly postponed last night to the dismay of thousands of stranded Kiwis.

The Ministry provided an update on the highly transmissible Covid variant, Omicron. 

To date, there have been 370 Omicron cases detected at the border since December 1, and 32 cases of the Delta variant.

"There are also 203 cases caught at the border that are still undergoing Whole Genome Sequencing. The expectation is that the vast majority will be the Omicron variant."

During the same period, more than 18,000 people have arrived at MIQ facilities.

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