43 new Covid-19 cases in NZ community on Saturday

Source: 1News

There are 43 new Covid-19 cases to report in the New Zealand community on Saturday, the Ministry of Health has announced.

A person is tested for Covid-19.

The cases are in Auckland (19), Waikato (4), Lakes (6), the Hawke’s Bay (6), and the Nelson Tasman region (8).

Eight people are in hospital with the virus, none of whom are in the high dependency or intensive care unit.

There are also 41 cases to report at the border, where people have tested positive on routine day 0 to 7 testing.

Palmerston North Omicron Case

There have been 76 contacts identified to date linked to the Palmerston North Omicron case, according to the Ministry of Health. All but two have been contacted and 66 have returned a negative result. Further test results will be reported on Sunday.

Auckland Airport Omicron Case

One possible Omicron case, reported on Friday, is now confirmed to have contracted the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The case has been potentially linked to returnees in Rotorua and Auckland through whole genome sequencing, the ministry said.

Thirty-two contacts have since been identified, around half of whom have been 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," the ministry said.

Nelson Tasman Cases

In addition, five flights have now been linked to the nine cases reported in the Nelson Tasman region reported on Friday.

An Air New Zealand crew member on the same Auckland-Nelson flight as the nine cases - who are all part of one household - has since tested positive for Covid-19.

The Auckland-Nelson flight and four other flights the crew member worked on during their possible infectious period prior to their testing positive are now listed as locations of interest.

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

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

Those on the affected flights are in the process of being contacted and provided with advice from the Health Ministry.

Whole genome sequencing for the Nelson Tasman cases and the Air New Zealand crew member are expected later on Saturday.

The nine Nelson Tasman cases are all from one household.

Eight of the cases were notified on Friday after the Ministry’s reporting deadline and are on Saturday being added to the official tally. There are no additional new cases to report in the region on Saturday.

Case interviews continue with genome sequencing is expected later on Saturday to identify the variant. Public health officials continue to investigate recent travel to Auckland as the source of their infections.

Anyone who was on the affected flights and who has not yet been contacted has been advised to get tested and isolate at home.

"Public health officials report a strong response to testing yesterday afternoon and are expecting further demand over the weekend."

There are no unexpected wastewater detections to report.