MIQ worker has Covid, 29 new community cases

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
A managed isolation and quarantine worker has tested positive for Covid-19 amid 29 new community cases.

The Auckland-based MIQ worker returned a positive result for Covid-19 late yesterday afternoon and is currently in isolation, the Ministry of Health said in a statement this afternoon.

The test was taken as part of routine border worker surveillance testing. The New Zealand Herald understands the person worked at the Stamford Plaza Hotel.

Investigations are under way to determine if the infection originated from the community or the facility, the ministry said. The worker is fully vaccinated and up-to-date with regular testing. Household contacts all returned negative tests last night.

Whole genome sequencing is being carried out to determine what variant the infection is and the results will be reported in tomorrow.

The Ministry said there were 29 new community cases and 25 cases at the New Zealand border to report today. 

Of the new community cases, 11 are in Auckland.

There are also 14 in the Lakes District Health Board region, with all cases in Rotorua. Eleven of these are linked to people previously known to have contracted Covid. Investigations have stared to determine any links for the unlinked cases.

There is one new case in the Western Bay of Plenty with the person linked to a previously known cases, and one new case in Wellington City with that person also linked to an existing case.

The Wellington case is a household contact of a previously reported case and was already isolating when they tested positive.

The total Covid cases detected at the border is now often more than double the new Delta community cases, leading top officials to predict an outbreak of the highly transmissible strain, Omicron, is expected within two weeks.

"New Zealand continues to see many border cases arriving from overseas, reflecting the growing number of Omicron cases globally," the Ministry of Health said today.

Ministry data shows the majority of cases popping up at the border are the highly contagious Omicron variant, with 266 cases detected in MIQ since December 1. More than 18,000 people have arrived in New Zealand during that period.

The vaccine remained New Zealand's key defence against all variants of Covid, including Omicron, the Ministry said.

On Monday, the vaccine will be available for 5- to 11-year-olds to get protected against Covid-19.

"We encourage all parents with children in this age group to take them to get vaccinated. A full list of vaccination centres can be found on the Healthpoint website."




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