Covid-19: Four new community cases in Christchurch; airport named as first location of interest

There are four new community cases of Covid-19 in Christchurch today, two of which are in the same household.

All four cases remain under investigation to establish any links to previous cases, the Ministry of Health said on Thursday.

These cases were reported after the cut-off time and it will be officially included in tomorrow’s case numbers.

At 4pm on Thursday, Christchurch Airport was added as a Covid location of interest by the ministry. Anyone at the airport on Monday, January 24, between 9.10am and 9.40am, is advised to self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms for 10 days after they were exposed. If symptoms develop, get a test and stay at home until you get a negative test result. 

The ministry is urging Cantabrians to continue to get tested if they have any symptoms, and regularly check the locations of interest in Canterbury.

There were 45 new community cases of Covid-19 - not including the Christchurch cases - reported in New Zealand today, with the number of Omicron cases in the community rising to 90.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health said there were 34 new Omicron cases and there are active cases being treated as Omicron in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Palmerston North, and Nelson Tasman.

It said many of the new cases have previously been reported and linked retrospectively, so were not included in today's reported new community cases.

"The number of cases and contacts are expected to grow given the highly transmissible nature of Omicron and as we learn more from case interviews."

Omicron at music festival

The Ministry also confirmed that one of the five cases who tested positive in Auckland after going to the Soundsplash music festival in Hamilton over the weekend is the Omicron variant.

So far, 68 people who attended the festival have been identified as close contacts, and this number is expected to increase. Contact tracing staff are contacting these individuals, who are required to follow all public health advice regarding isolation and testing.

Whole Genome Sequencing has confirmed that one of the cases who attended the festival has the Omicron variant. Whole genome sequencing is underway for the remaining four cases.

Interviews with the five cases will assist in determining whether they contracted Covid-19 before or while attending the festival.

Cases by district

Today's new community cases were in Auckland (22), Waikato (2), Bay of Plenty (3), Lakes (7), Taranaki (1), Hawke's Bay (8) and Nelson Marlborough (2). There was also one case in Tairawhiti and four cases in Canterbury which were notified after the Ministry's reporting deadline.

There are two cases in Nelson-Marlborough which will be officially added to tomorrow’s case numbers. These two cases are part of one of the households which has been epidemiologically linked to the January Omicron cluster.

Whole genome sequencing is underway but both are being treated as Omicron at this stage

The new case in the Tairawhiti District is in Gisborne.

The result was received after the reporting cut-off time and it will be officially included in tomorrow’s case numbers.

Investigations are currently underway to determine a link to other known cases in the current outbreak. However, at this stage it is likely that this person became infected during travel outside of the region.

There is a new case in Taranaki.

"This was the case we reported initially yesterday.

"In addition, we are reporting a second case of Covid-19 in the region linked to the January Omicron cluster."

The person is a household contact of the case we reported yesterday and they are in isolation. This case was notified after the Ministry’s reporting deadline and will be included in the case count tomorrow.

The ministry is reporting three new Covid-19 cases in the Bay of Plenty today.

One of these cases is part of a Tauranga household with two other cases, reported earlier this week. Whole genome sequencing has now linked these two earlier cases to the January Omicron cluster, and the new case is being treated as Omicron.

The remaining two cases from today are in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and are being investigated for links to previously reported cases.

"In addition, we are announcing three more cases which have tested positive for Covid-19. They’re linked to an exposure event at the early childhood centre BestStart Pyes Pa on 19 January. All three are being treated as Omicron."

These three cases will be included officially in tomorrow’s numbers.

Whole Genome Sequencing for the Wellington case reported yesterday confirms this as the Delta variant. Investigations are continuing to establish any links to previous cases.

There are eight new cases of Covid-19 in Hawke’s Bay, all expected and linked to the known Hastings Delta cluster.

The cases had all been isolating and therefore there are no new, associated locations of interest to add.

The Ministry of Health said there were five people in hospital, with one in intensive care.

There were also 51 new cases reported at the border today, with cases arriving from USA, UAE, UK, India, Austria, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Australia, Pakistan, Brazil, Turkey, Dominica, Spain and Serbia.

Yesterday, there were 23 new community cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand, with the total number of Omicron cases reported in the community at 56.

There have now been 11,601 cases in the current outbreak and 15,466 cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand since the pandemic began.

The Ministry said Canterbury is the third DHB to fully vaccinate more than 90 percent of eligible Māori, and that more than four million first doses of a Covid-19 vaccine have now been administered to New Zealand's 12+ population across the country.

There were 13,995 paediatric doses given yesterday. With a total of 124,155 doses, 26 percent of the 5 to 11 age group have now recieved a vaccine dose, with another 25,596 booked in for a first dose.

There were 50,946 boosters administered yesterday, bringing the total to 1,163,046.

Meanwhile, new modelling from an overseas health research organisation shows New Zealand could be facing 50,000 daily Omicron infections by Waitangi weekend, peaking at about 80,000 each day just a few weeks later.

And doctors are warning they will not be able to help all of their patients when there are thousands of daily Omicron infections.



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