Nelson-Tasman Omicron outbreak spread across three households

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There are now 17 active cases of Covid-19 in Nelson, with the health board moving to "stamp out" Omicron in the region.

On Wednesday, a further two household contacts of existing cases tested positive for the virus.

There are now 16 confirmed cases and one probable case in the region, across three households.

Nelson Marlborough Health medical officer of health Dr Stephen Bridgman said the "stamp it out" phase would see all cases confirmed with a positive PCR test, which was the most accurate method.

Rapid antigen tests (RATs) would help to flatten the curve and manage the outbreak as case numbers escalated.

"This stamping it out phase aims to gift us time. Time for people in our community to become vaccinated and develop a household plan for when Omicron cases peak. This will help us reduce the number of people who experience serious illness, hospitalisation and death."

Close contacts of positive cases are being asked to quarantine for 10 days - to allow for immediate testing, then on days five and eight, or earlier if symptomatic.

Casual contacts, people who have been at a location of interest during the date and time specified, are directed to monitor symptoms. If they become symptomatic they need to get a test and isolate immediately until a negative test result is received.

Nelson Marlborough Health chief executive Lexie O'Shea said the Omicron cases had driven demand for testing and vaccination.

She said the health board was "actively seeking to stamp out Omicron".

"We are now six days on from the first case announcement and are encouraged to see people with symptoms continuing to come forward for testing."

More than 2100 people across Nelson and Marlborough have been tested for the virus since the first case was announced last Friday, with 403 tests across the region on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, 2423 vaccinations were administered across Nelson Marlborough - 1909 adult doses and 378 paediatric doses.

The region has also reached 90 percent partially vaccinated and 85 percent fully vaccinated for Māori.

Bridgman said widespread testing of people with symptoms across Nelson Marlborough was needed in order to determine if there is undetected transmission in the community.

Anyone with symptoms - no matter how mild - was asked to get tested, even if they were vaccinated.

Community-Based Assessment Centres testing stations remain active in Motueka and Nelson.

Testing is also available from primary care, after-hours medical centres or iwi health providers with people required to phone ahead.

The locations and opening hours of testing centres can be found on the Healthpoint website.

Locations of community-based testing stations

Nelson: Saxton Field parking area, Suffolk Rd, Stoke - Monday - Sunday: 9am-6pm

Motueka: Motueka Recreation Centre, Old Wharf Rd - Monday - Sunday: 9am-5pm (until 4 February)

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