You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
There are 90 cases of Covid-19 today and fears of at least one undetected case in the community near Gisborne.
The new cases are in Northland (3), Auckland (71), Waikato (9), Bay of Plenty (5), Lakes (1), Nelson-Tasman (1).
There are no new cases to report in Hawke’s Bay, MidCentral, Whanganui or Canterbury.
There are 74 people in hospital - six of which are in ICU.
Of those in hospital, 37 cases (57 per cent) are unvaccinated or ineligible for it, 12 cases (18 per cent) are partially immunised and 12 cases (18 per cent) were fully vaccinated.
For four cases (6 per cent), the vaccination status remained unknown.
There is one new case of Covid-19 in Nelson-Tasman today as Southlanders wait with bated breath to see if the virus will spread after a DoC hut was identified as a high-risk exposure site.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said the Nelson case is linked to an existing case.
It takes the number of active cases in the area to 20 after one case has recovered.
Close contacts isolating
There are no new cases to report in Southland today.
It comes after it was revealed an infected person had arrived at Green Lake Hut in Fiordland on Saturday at 7pm and left the following morning at 8am. Everyone in the hut at the same time has been deemed a close contact.
Public health staff have identified 14 close contacts including a household contact, a spokesperson said.
"All contacts are currently isolating and will be tested."
Several pop-up testing sites are open in Nelson-Tasman today:
• Saxton Fields car park, Suffolk Rd, Stoke, 9am to 6pm.
• Richmond Showgrounds, 359 Lower Queen St, 9am to 6pm.
• Motueka Recreation Centre: Old Wharf Rd, Motueka, 9am to 3pm
Positive wastewater result in Gisborne Close contacts isolating
The virus has been detected again in a wastewater sample taken in Tairāwhiti Gisborne on December 6, which followed positive detections on December 1 and 2.
Two further samples will be collected this week, the ministry said.
Public health officials were not aware of any recovered cases in the region who may be shedding the virus and third positive detection strongly indicates that there was at least one undetected case in the community.
They were encouraging anyone in the region with symptoms to get tested.
There are 71 new cases being reported in Auckland.
A staff member at Ellerslie Gardens Aged Residential Care facility in Auckland has tested positive for Covid-19.
Auckland Regional Public Health Service and Auckland DHB staff are supporting the residents and staff at the privately-owned facility.
Testing is being undertaken with residents and staff as part of the outbreak management plan.
In Auckland, 3112 people were isolating at home, including 813 cases.
In Northland, one new case has been detected in n Kaitaia and the infected person has been transferred to to Bay of Plenty DHB and will be recorded in that district, the ministry said in today's 1pm statement.
Two further cases in Northland announced yesterday were counted in today's numbers. They have both been linked to known cases, the ministry said.
In Waikato, there were nine new cases confirmed overnight, with six in Te Kūiti, one in Ōtorohanga, and two locations under investigation. All are under investigation for links to previous cases, the ministry said.
There are 11 pop-up and dedicated testing sites operating across Waikato today in Hamilton, Ngāruawāhia, Ōtorohanga, Piopio, Thames, Taumarunui, Tokoroa, Putāruru and Te Kūiti.
There is one Covid positive patient in Waikato Hospital ICU, and 109 people were isolating at home in the region.
On a downward trend
The number of daily Covid community cases has seen a positive trend happening - with case numbers dropping to just under the 100 mark for the first time in several weeks.
Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker said it was a positive sign that increased vaccination rates among the population is working.
However, with the traffic light system only kicking off less than a week ago, we could still potentially see a jump in cases by the weekend or early next week due to the relaxed restrictions in Auckland in particular.
"The settings of alert level three was working well," he said.
"I think we would expect to see cases go up with the traffic light system because there is a lot more mixing going on."
Baker described "our biggest risk" as private gatherings and parties that included people who were not vaccinated.
Such parties could be particularly difficult to contain during the festive season.
In yesterday's figures a total of 25 infected patients had been admitted to Auckland City Hospital, 22 at Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland, 14 at North Shore Hospital and two people are in Waikato Hospital.
One person is at Tauranga Hospital and another at Nelson Hospital.
Of those people hospitalised, seven patients are fighting Covid in an intensive care unit - two at Auckland City Hospital, three in Middlemore and one patient each in ICUs in North Shore and Waikato hospitals.
The average age of people in hospital with Covid is 53.
The Ministry of Health also confirmed that the Southern District Health Board was now the fifth DHB in the country to report a 90 per cent full vaccination coverage among residents in the region.
Health officials called it a "key milestone" that was reached early yesterday morning.
"To date, 93 per cent of eligible people in New Zealand have had their first dose and 88 per cent are fully vaccinated," a statement said.
-NZ Herald & ODT Online