Covid 19 Delta outbreak: 85 new community cases over past two days

There are 85 new community cases of Covid-19 over the past two days – 57 are in Auckland, seven in Waikato, one in Taranaki, 16 in Bay of Plenty, two in Lakes and two in Wellington.

There are 31 people in hospital, including 2 in ICU. Of those hospitalised, one is in Northland and two are in Tauranga – the rest are in Auckland’s hospitals. The average age of those in hospital is 58.

There were 64 new cases of Covid-19 identified at the border over the past two days. Most of those cases are expected to be the Omicron variant but the Ministry of Health did not provide details.

So far, New Zealand has avoided community transmission of Omicron – but experts have warned the new, more transmissible variant could sneak out of MIQ any day now, giving rise to a fast-moving outbreak.

Last month the Government announced a suite of changes to strengthen the country’s border defences to keep Omicron out of the community for as long as possible while the booster shot programme rolled out.

On Wednesday the interval between a second shot and a booster dropped from six months to four. Close to half a million people have now had a booster shot, with 21821 booster doses on Saturday and 44,466 the day before, bringing the total to 490,107.

Among eligible Māori, 88 per cent have had a first dose of the vaccine and 82 per cent have had their second, while Pacific peoples are at 94 per cent and 91 per cent. Overall 95 per cent of the eligible population have had their first dose and 92 per cent have had their second.

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Case details

In Waikato, three of today’s cases are in Te Kūiti and have all been linked to previous cases. Two cases are in Te Awamutu, one has a Taupō residential address (and is linked to a previous case), and in one case the location is under investigation. Three cases are currently unlinked.

All 16 new cases in Bay of Plenty have been linked to previously known cases. Thirteen of the cases are in Tauranga and three in the Western Bay of Plenty District.

Both Lakes cases are in Rotorua. One has been linked and one is still being investigated.

The Taranaki case, which is linked to the Eltham cluster, has been reported previously but added to today’s tally. They are a household contact of a previous case and have been isolating over the festive period. They are the only active case in Taranaki.

Wellington cases possibly linked to festival

The Ministry of Health yesterday announced the two new Covid cases in Wellington that were officially recorded today. No new cases have arisen since then.

The two cases were linked to recent travel to the Bay of Plenty, and locations of interest were being released over the weekend – including a possible link to a Drum & Bass festival held on January 3 at Wharepai Domain in Tauranga.

Case numbers in Tauranga have been climbing with locations of interest sprinkled throughout the city. There were 13 cases in the Bay of Plenty on Friday compared to 18 in Auckland.

Anyone who was at the music festival was advised to get tested as soon as possible and isolate at home until they received a negative result.

Although the person probably wasn’t infectious while at the festival, and vaccine passes were required, the Ministry was asking people to get tested “out of an abundance of caution” because there were so many people at the event.

Supplies of 5-11 vaccine due yesterday

Supplies of the Pfizer vaccine formulation for 5- to 11-year-olds were due to land on Saturday (January 8) in time for rollout starting January 17, the Ministry of Health said this week.

“The stock needs to go through a quality assurance process, and be thawed and repacked before distribution to vaccination sites,” it said.

“Deliveries are scheduled to commence from 10 January to ensure all sites nationally have child doses available in readiness for the 17 January start date.”

In late December Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins was asked why the 5-11 rollout could not come earlier than January 17.

He said the delay was partly due to vaccinators needing to be trained to administer the paediatric vaccine.

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