The nine COVID-19 cases reported yesterday in the Nelson/Tasman region have now been confirmed as the Omicron variant, and a further case from the same household was confirmed late yesterday.
These cases are in a single family who flew to Auckland on 13 January to attend a family event and other events on the weekend of 15 and 16 January and initial estimates suggest there were at least 100 people at these events.
This cluster has already led to an additional infection of a fully vaccinated Air New Zealand flight attendant who was infected on flight 5083 on January 16th from Auckland to Nelson which the family was on. That flight attendant has worked four additional flights while infectious.
The five flights are:
We were also informed late yesterday of a further case who was a guest at the family event. Whole genome sequencing is urgently being carried out but we are treating this as the Omicron variant.
Initial locations of interest have been identified across Auckland and the Nelson Tasman region and these will be published on the Ministry’s website as they are confirmed. We are encouraging everyone in these regions to check the locations of interest and follow the public health advice.
There is a Section 70 notice in place that puts a legal requirement on all people who were at locations of interest at the relevant times to follow the instructions regarding isolation and testing. Failure to comply can result in a fine of up to $4,000 or imprisonment for up to six months.
At this stage, we are doing what we have already successfully done with Delta to slow the spread of the virus.
All testing locations nationwide are available at Healthpoint.co.nz.
We expect there will be high demand, and it’s important that those who need to be tested are the ones who we test first.
Anyone with symptoms, anyone who has been to a location of interest at the times notified, should isolate immediately and get tested promptly.
We don’t yet have a clear lead on the source of infection which links this family to the border, as we have with our other Omicron cases to date. Based on the information available, the risk of undetected community transmission is considered high. On that basis, Ministers have agreed that New Zealand will move into the Red setting of the traffic light system at 11.59pm tonight, Sunday 23 January.
At Red, we need to take action to protect our vulnerable communities and our health system from COVID-19. Learn what we all need to do here.
The vaccine remains New Zealand’s key defence against all variants of COVID-19, including Omicron.
The Ministry continues to encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated. We are strongly recommending boosters for anyone over the age of 18 who had their second dose of the vaccine at least four months ago. We are also asking parents with children aged 5-11 years to get all the information they need for vaccination.
As part of our collective preparations for Omicron please check your details are up to date with your regular healthcare provider and in the COVID-19 Tracer app.
No unexpected results.
We are reporting new community cases in Northland, Auckland, Waikato and Lakes.
The tenth household member in Nelson Tasman to test positive will be officially added to the case numbers tomorrow.
We are continuing to ask anyone in New Zealand with symptoms – no matter how mild – to get tested, even if you’re vaccinated. Please stay at home until you return a negative test result. We are also asking people to regularly check the locations of interest as these are regularly updated and to follow the advice provided.
Testing and vaccination centre locations nationwide can be found on the Healthpoint website.
Please also continue to check for any updated Locations of Interest and appropriate health advice, updated regularly on the Ministry’s website.
There have been two new cases in the Kaitaia area. Both are household members of an existing case.
Two cases were also reported last night and will be added to the case numbers tomorrow. This included one linked case in Whangārei who is a close contact of a case and was already in isolation. The other case was in the Kaitaia area and investigations are continuing to establish a link to previous cases. Whole genome sequencing is underway for this case.
There are 16 cases to report in Auckland today.
Health and welfare providers are now supporting 682 people in the region to isolate at home, including 154 cases.
An Auckland aged residential care worker associated with the family from Nelson, has tested positive for COVID-19. The worker is fully vaccinated and Whole Genome Sequencing is being carried out however we are treating this as a contact of a known Omicron case.
The resthome is now closed to visitors and testing is being carried out on residents and staff.
Anyone who has visited the rest home since Tuesday 18 January and has symptoms of COVID-19 is asked to isolate and get a test as soon as possible.
There is one new case in the Waikato today. The case is in Hamilton and is linked to previous cases.
In the Waikato, Public Health, primary care and manaaki providers are supporting 15 cases to isolate at home.
There are 5 new cases to report in the Lakes DHB region today, all in the Rotorua District.
Three of today’s cases are linked to previously reported cases; two are still being investigated to determine any links.
All cases are isolating at home or in managed accommodation.