90% Māori fully vaccinated in Auckland; 23 community Covid cases

By Te Ao - Māori News

The Ministry of Health has reported 23 new community cases as the Omicron outbreak continues.

The total number of active cases is 481.

To date, the ministry says there are 56 community Omicron cases through whole-genome sequencing or are suspected Omicron because they have been identified and linked to a confirmed Omicron case. All suspected cases have whole-genome sequencing underway.

Some 44 cases have been linked directly or indirectly, to a family event and other associated events in Auckland on the weekend of January 15 and 16. The additional 15 cases being reported today are in Auckland, Taranaki, and Nelson Marlborough. 

The Taranaki case was on the same flight as the air steward who is part of the Omicron cluster and has been isolating since being identified as a close contact. Though not confirmed and whole-genome sequencing underway to determine if it is Omicron, the case is being treated as a suspected Omicron case.

Most in Auckland

All close contacts identified to date are in isolation and being tested for Covid-19.

A total of 12 cases have been linked to the three border workers reported earlier this month with confirmed or suspected Omicron, increasing by six. 

Including the border workers themselves, eight cases have been associated with the MIQ border worker first reported on January 16, and three associated with the Auckland Airport worker who tested positive on January 21. No additional cases have been linked to the Auckland Airport worker that was reported on January 19.

Of the new cases, 12 are in Auckland, three in Waikato, five in Lakes and one each in Northland, Capital and Coast (in Wellington) and Nelson-Marlborough regions.

In Waikato, one case is linked, and investigations are underway to determine a link for the second. The third case normally lives in Waikato but was tested in Rotorua. Management of the case is being transferred to Lakes.

Childhood centre

In Lakes, all five cases are from Rotorua. Three of these are linked to other cases and investigations continue to determine links for the remaining two.

In the Bay of Plenty, the ministry confirmed that an early childhood centre in Tauranga has been linked to a suspected Omicron case reported yesterday. The case was at the BestStart Pyes Pa on January 19 and was likely infectious at the time.

All people present at the childhood centre at the time are being treated as close contacts, being asked to isolate and to get tested immediately. Toi Te Ora Public Health is working with the Ministry of Education to establish a clear view of who was present at the centre on the day and is in the process of contacting those people.

Three new cases are in the Nelson-Marlborough region. One is part of a household linked to the Omicron cluster associated with several private events in Auckland over the January 15/16 weekend. The other two were detected this morning, are under investigation and are being treated as suspected Omicron cases.

A total of 15 active cases are now in the region across three households, with all isolating at home. One is in today's tally and the remaining two will be included in tomorrow's official tally.

649 isolating in Tāmaki

Health and welfare providers are now supporting 649 people in the Auckland region to isolate at home, including 168 cases.

Some 36 cases have been detected at the border, all of whom are in managed isolation.

Hospitalisations are now down to six, with no one in intensive care. Of the hospitalisations, two are in North Shore, one in Auckland and Middlemore each, and two in Rotorua hospitals.

Meanwhile, Auckland has become the second district health board to reach 90% fully vaccinated Māori. South Canterbury is now the ninth to reach 90% first dose, with the ministry saying several other boards are close to reaching the milestone as well.

The ministry says it recognises the mahi of Māori providers who have worked hard alongside local DHBs to lift Māori vaccination rates across the motu.

Yesterday 1,485 first doses, 2,155 second doses, 583 third primary doses, 15,102 paediatric doses and 56,899 booster doses were administered.