Auckland airport worker confirmed as Omicron case

By Te Ao - Māori News

There are 43 new community cases of Covid-19 today, with the Ministry of Health also confirming that an Auckland Airport worker has the Omicron variant.

The majority of today's new community cases are in Auckland which has 19 cases. There are a further four cases in Waikato, six each in Lakes and Hawke's Bay, and eight in Nelson Marlborough.

Eight people are currently in hospital with Covid-19, all in Tāmaki Makaurau. Four are in North Shore, three in Auckland and one in Middlemore hospital. No one is in intensive care.

Auckland Airport worker

The airport worker was reported as a possible Omicron case on Friday and confirmed today as having the variant. The ministry, which is working to identify the source of the infection, says the case has been "potentially linked to returnees in Rotorua and Auckland through whole genome sequencing".  

Thirty-two contacts have been identified, with around half so far contacted and tested.

"As reported yesterday, there has been one positive result reported in a household member and 16 other contacts have returned a negative result."

Palmerston North Omicron case

The ministry says 66 of the 73 contacts linked to the Palmerston North Omicron case reported earlier this week have so far returned negative tests. It says, all but two contacts remain to be contacted.

Nelson Tasman cases linked to five flights

Five flights have now been linked to the nine cases in the Nelson Tasman region reported on Friday - and will be listed today as locations of interest, the ministry says.

"An Air New Zealand crew member on the same Auckland to Nelson flight as the nine cases has now tested positive. This flight and four other flights the crew member worked on during their possible infectious period, prior to their testing positive, are now also listed as locations of interest."

The flights are:

  • Flight NZ 5083 from Auckland to Nelson at 5.20 pm on 16 January
  • Flight NZ 5080 from Nelson to Auckland at 4 pm on 19 January
  • Flight NZ 5077 from Auckland to Nelson at 2pm on 19 January
  • Flight NZ 5049 from Auckland to New Plymouth at 7.50 pm on 19 January
  • Flight NZ 5042 from New Plymouth to Auckland at 1.50 pm on 20 January

The ministry says the positive case was found after the crew member felt unwell and was tested on top of the regular surveillance testing. Air New Zealand says their crew member is fully vaccinated. 

"Whole genome sequencing for the Nelson Tasman cases and the Air New Zealand crew member are expected later today," the ministry says.

Today's community cases

In Auckland, which is reporting 19 new cases today, the ministry says 158 cases are currently being supported to isolate at home.

Waikato's four new cases are all in Hamilton and linked to previous cases. Twenty-two cases are isolating at home in the region with support from public health, primary care and manaaki providers, the ministry says. 

The six new cases in the Lakes District Health Board region are all in the Rotorua area and linked to previously reported cases.

The ministry has not said where in Hawke’s Bay the six new cases reported today are located but says five of the cases are linked to existing cases.