More than 1 million booster doses have now been administered – 57% of those who are due.
Boosters lower your chances of COVID-19, including the Omicron variant, making you very sick and being hospitalised, and help to slow the spread of the virus. If you’re 18 or older and it’s been 4 months since your second vaccine dose, get your booster as soon as you can. Book your booster or find a walk-in vaccination centre at BookMyVaccine.nz.
More than 100,000 5-to-11-year-olds have now either had or are booked to have their first dose of the paediatric vaccine, about 23 per cent of the age group. The Ministry of Health recommends vaccinating tamariki to keep them safe and help protect whānau and communities from COVID-19. Parents and caregivers to find out more on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.
The COVID-19 vaccine remains New Zealand’s key defence against all variants of the virus, including Omicron.
Public health officials are continuing to manage Omicron cases in the community through rapidly isolating cases and contacts, contact tracing, and testing in order to slow the spread.
To date, there are 19 community cases of COVID-19 associated with the January Omicron Cluster, all are in isolation.
Of these cases, today we are reporting eight – two are in the Nelson/Tasman region and are contacts of existing cases, five cases are in Auckland linked to one of the reported family events, and there is an additional case in Palmerston North, a household contact who was already isolating and linked to the previously reported Palmerston North Omicron case.
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.
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.
We also continue to urge anyone with symptoms, or anyone who has been to a location of interest at the times notified, to isolate immediately and get tested promptly.
With the evolving international data on Omicron and new community cases of the variant, we have recently amended the prioritisation of whole genome sequencing on positive cases of COVID-19.
As Omicron is potentially now transmitting in the New Zealand community, we are prioritising whole genome sequencing for any unlinked positive cases of COVID-19 in the community. This new approach will help to detect any cases of Omicron as quickly as possible, establish any links to existing cases, and slow the spread of the virus. These samples will be treated as urgent and tested within 12-24 hours of being received by the laboratory.
Furthermore, as we are now assuming all recent arrivals who test positive have the Omicron variant, we will also prioritise whole genome sequencing for any positive cases of COVID-19 in border-related workers and their families.
Previously we prioritised whole genome sequencing for cases of COVID-19 in international arrivals. Samples from international arrivals will still be analysed as part of routine sequencing.
Further 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 will be people from outside of these regions who may have visited those locations at the same time period, so it is important for anyone who has been in these locations over the past week to check the website and see if they are included in that time the case was there.
It is also a timely reminder to all potential close contacts of a case to either call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or record their visit online to a location of interest and follow advice from a health professional, as this is advice is specific to an individual and the exposure event.
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.
We continue to urge anyone with symptoms, or anyone who has been to a location of interest at the times notified, to isolate immediately and get tested promptly.
At this stage, we are doing what we have already successfully done with Delta to slow the spread of the virus.
All DHBs are ensuring there is good access to testing across the regions. Public health officials are closely monitoring the situation and ensuring additional testing capacity is available, if needed.
All testing locations nationwide are available at Healthpoint.co.nz.
No unexpected results.
We are reporting new community cases in Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Rotorua, Palmerston North, and Nelson Tasman.
One of Nelson Tasman cases was first announced yesterday and had been officially added to the case numbers today. Both cases are linked to previously reported Omicron cases.
The Palmerston North case is a household contact of previously reported Omicron case and this case was already isolating.
**In addition to the community cases reported today, there are two confirmed historical border cases in Canterbury to report.
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 four new cases in the Kaitaia area. All are contacts of previously reported cases in Kaitaia.
In addition, one case reported last week has been admitted to hospital.
There are 13 cases to report in Auckland today.
Health and welfare providers are now supporting 676 people in the region to isolate at home, including 157 cases.
Residents and staff of an Auckland aged residential care facility have been tested for COVID-19 after a worker who tested positive was linked to the current Omicron outbreak.
The resthome is now closed to visitors.
Anyone who visited the rest home since Tuesday 18 January is asked to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 10 days after exposure. If symptoms develop, get a test, and stay at home until you return a negative test result.
Test results for residents and staff are currently being processed. The test results returned so far have been negative.
Whole Genome Sequencing is being carried out however we are treating this as an Omicron case.
There are four new cases in the Waikato today, which are all linked to previously reported cases. Two are from Hamilton, one if from Atiamuri and one with location under investigation.
Pop-up testing sites are operating in Te Kūiti, Ngāruawāhia, Huntly, Taumarunui, Tokoroa, Putāruru and Hamilton today.
There were 480 tests processed in Waikato yesterday and 1882 vaccinations given.
In the Waikato, Public Health, primary care and manaaki providers are supporting 19 cases to isolate at home.
There is one new case to report in the Rotorua District, linked to a previously reported case.