There are 28 new community cases of Covid to report today, and 13 at the border.
The community cases are in Auckland (9), Waikato (3), Bay of Plenty (5), Lakes (2), Wairarapa (4), Hutt Valley (2), Canterbury (3).
There are 34 people in hospital with Covid-19. Four are in Auckland’s North Shore, eight are at Auckland City, 17 are at Middlemore, four are in Tauranga and one is in Waikato.
Two remain in ICU fighting the virus. They are at Middlemore and Tauranga hospitals.
The number of hospitalised cases who are unvaccinated is 25 (61 per cent), those who had one dose make up 1 (2 per cent) and those fully vaccinated make up 15 cases (27 per cent).
The average age of people in hospital fighting the virus is 49-years-old.
In the last 24 hours, there have been 16,990 tests conducted, which is above the seven day rolling average of 15,208.
In Auckland, there were 5556 tests in the last 24 hours.
Across the country 95 per cent of eligible people have received their first dose and 92 per cent are fully vaccinated. To date, 637,058 booster doses have been administered.
“We are strongly recommending boosters for anyone over the age of 18 who had their second vaccine dose at least four months ago,” the ministry said.
“Vaccination remains our key defence against all variants of Covid – including Omicron.
“New Zealand continues to see many border cases arriving from overseas, reflecting the growing number of Omicron cases globally.”
The percentage of eligible Māori to receive at least one dose of the Covid vaccine is 88 per cent and 83 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Ninety-five per cent of eligible Pacific People have received at least one jab and 92 per cent are now fully vaccinated.
In the Auckland region, 96 per cent of those eligible to get the vaccine had received at least their first jab and 95 per cent were fully vaccinated.
Northland and Tairāwhiti districts were the only areas left in the country not to reach the 90 per cent fully vaccinated mark. Northland sat at 85 per cent and Tairāwhiti was at 87 per cent.
Today, Capital and Coast will become the first DHB area to reach the 90 per cent fully vaccinated milestone for Māori. (edited)
“When the region’s clinics closed for the day yesterday, they were only 32 second doses short and they’re expected to reach this significant milestone at some point today,” the ministry said in a statement released today.
Not far behind in reaching 90 per cent fully vaccinated for their eligible Māori populations are Canterbury and Auckland DHBs, who may get there next week, the ministry said.
To prepare for Omicron, the ministry urged people to check their details were up to date with their regular healthcare provider and in the COVID-19 Tracer app.
People are also advised to check the Ministry of Health’s locations of interest page to see if they have potentially been in contact with a person infected with Covid.
Health providers are now supporting 878 people in the Auckland region who are isolating at home, including 180 people who have tested positive for the virus.
The two of the three new cases in the Waikato are linked to previous reported cases and one is under investigation.
One is in Ngāruawāhia, another is in Whiritoa andthe location of the third cases was under investigation.
All of the five Bay of Plenty cases are in Tauranga. Four are close contacts of a previously reported cases and the other is under investigation.
The two Lakes district cases are in Rotorua. Both are linked to previously reported cases and are either in MIQ or isolating at home.
There are four cases to report in South Wairarapa today which are all linked to Lower Hutt. All four cases are isolating in the same house.
The two Lower Hutt cases are from the same household and had been in Rotorua recently. Further investigations and genome sequencing is underway to confirm the source of infection.
Down south, three cases were reported in Canterbury and are all from the same household.
One of these cases was initially reported yesterday and is being officially added to today’s numbers.
Two are linked to a previously reported case and the third remains under investigation.
Family-friendly drive-through vax centre opening
From January 17 the rollout of the vaccine for children aged 5-11 begins.
A new family-friendly drive-through vaccination centre is opening on Auckland’s North Shore on Monday to help cater for demand, at Eventfinda Stadium in Wairau Valley.
Yesterday there were a record 65 border cases, with the vast majority of people infected expected to have the Omicron variant.
Two more people had also died with the virus, the ministry said yesterday – a man in his 30s who tested positive after dying at home on January 5, and a man in his 60s who died on January 9 at Middlemore Hospital.
Wednesday’s new community cases were in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Lakes and Christchurch. There were 31 people in hospital with the virus including two in intensive care.
Most of the new border cases tested positive for the virus on day 1 in MIQ, with about a third of people staying in Auckland’s Stamford Plaza facility.
The ministry said there had been 196 Omicron cases detected at the border since December 1 and just 11 Delta cases.
Another 217 cases at the border were still being analysed through whole genome sequencing and it was expected the “vast majority” would be Omicron.
Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker has called for the Government to turn down tap of arrivals in MIQ, warning that the high number of cases is increasing the risk of Omicron escaping.
Baker said it was possible New Zealand could see a repeat of the way the August outbreak started – “where we suddenly find one case of Omicron in the community that represents the tip of an iceberg”.
“The trouble with Omicron, of course, is that it’s very unforgiving, in terms of its level of infectivity – and I think we’re really pushing our luck with the number of infected people arriving.”
He has previously also said the Covid-19 Protection Framework – commonly known as the traffic light system – will not be helpful once Omicron arrives.
Baker is urging people to get their booster shot of the vaccine as soon as they are eligible – which is four months after their second dose for those aged over 18.
As of yesterday’s update, 594,947 booster doses had been given, which was 40 per cent of those who were eligible.
Booster shots can be had now through GPs, pharmacies and walk-in centres (click here for locations). From January 17 people can book a booster appointment online.
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