24 new community Covid-19 cases in NZ today

Source: 1News

There are 24 new Covid-19 cases in the community on Wednesday, the Ministry of Health has announced.

A health worker with a Covid-19 test tube.

The cases are in Northland (1), Auckland (14), Waikato (1), Lakes (5), Bay of Plenty (1), Hawke’s Bay (1) and Hutt Valley (1).

The ministry also said two household contacts of the Omicron-positive Auckland MIQ worker were symptomatic but had tested negative on Tuesday.

Another household contact who tested positive on Tuesday is isolating at home.

A co-worker of the Stamford Plaza MIQ worker is symptomatic and remains in MIQ. They have returned a further negative test, the ministry said.

A further 15 contacts among the MIQ hotel staff are isolating at home.

Whole genome sequencing has linked the MIQ worker to a person who arrived in New Zealand on January 8. That person tested positive on January 9, which was day 1 of their stay. They were transferred to MIQ on January 10.

"As of this morning, a total of 84 contacts have been identified in relation to the MIQ border worker. At this stage, 79 have returned negative test results and one household contact has returned a positive result, who was reported yesterday. The number of contacts can fluctuate as further investigation rules them out," the ministry said in a statement.

"Of the contacts identified in relation to the two bus journeys, there are four contacts yet to be reached. Two of these contacts have returned a negative test from following advice on the locations of interest web page or advice from a mobile phone notification. While these exposure events are a low public health risk, further efforts to reach all outstanding contacts are being made."

Positive worker at Auckland Airport

Meanwhile, a fully vaccinated person who works at Auckland Airport has tested positive for Covid-19. They tested positive on Tuesday.

They are not employed by the airport, but work for another company there.

Whole genome sequencing is expected to come back later on Wednesday, but the worker is being managed as an Omicron case “from an abundance of caution”.

The worker was infectious from January 15, but they were not at work while infectious.

Their only household contact has returned an initial negative test result.

The first of the locations of interest associated with the worker are being published on the ministry's website.

The ministry also said 370 Omicron cases to date have been detected at the border since December 1.

Thirty-two were the Delta variant.

A further 203 Covid-19 cases detected at the border are still undergoing whole genome sequencing.

“The expectation is that the vast majority will be the Omicron variant,” the ministry said.

Twenty-four people are in hospital with the virus, including two in an intensive care or high dependency unit.

Returning to Wednesday's community cases, the fresh case in Northland is in Kaikohe. They are a close contact of an earlier case and were already isolating when they tested positive.

The fresh case in the Waikato is in Hamilton. They are being investigated for a link to an earlier case.

The five new cases in the Lakes DHB area are in the Rotorua district. Four of them have been linked to earlier cases. One is still being investigated to determine any links.

The new case in the Bay of Plenty is in Tauranga. Investigations are ongoing to determine a link to any known cases.

As reported earlier on Wednesday, two more people in Hastings have tested positive for the virus. This means the total number of active cases in the region is now four.

Both of the new cases are linked to location of interest Tu Step Fitness Class, which was held at Ascende Global Church.

The fresh case in Wellington is in the Hutt Valley. They are a contact of an earlier case and were already isolating when they tested positive.

There is also a new case in Canterbury but will be included in Thursday's numbers. They are linked to an earlier case and too were already isolating when they tested positive.

Over 50 border cases

Fifty-six Covid-19 cases were also announced at the border on Wednesday.

They had arrived in the country between December 30 and January 17 from Australia, Nepal, India, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, the UK, Eritrea, Fiji, Russia, the US and Philippines.

They had tested positive for the virus between day 0 and 18. The day 18 case is a contact of a case, the ministry said.

Full travel history was yet to be obtained for two of the cases.