Covid 19 Delta outbreak: No official update today from Ministry of Health on latest cases

Health officials will not be releasing latest case numbers today, in spite of the growing number of Omicron cases at the border and fears it will be days before infections spill into the community.

The Ministry of Health has elected to defer issuing a statement until tomorrow, a move pre-arranged last year.

The next Covid-19 update will be tomorrow at 1pm.

Today Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins said 128,850 booster doses had been administered in the first three days since eligibility changed.

This week people aged 18 and over have been able to get a booster four months after their second dose.

“A booster dose is your best protection against Omicron, and most Kiwis are now eligible,” he posted on Twitter.

Yesterday there were 35 community cases ranging across the upper half of the North Island and including Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and Taupō.

On Friday there were 37 people in hospital, just three of them requiring critical care, one of the lowest tallies in recent months.

At the same time there were 24 new cases at the border. The ministry did not reveal whichvariant the latest infections had.

However, this week when there were 66 new cases in two days the ministry said the likelihood was that Omicron would continue to be the most prevalent variant at our borders.

“This variant of Covid-19 continues to be having a significant impact globally, so it is not unexpected to see an increase of Omicron cases at the border,”the ministry said.

Omicron surge forces NSW restriction U-turn

Skyrocketing Omicron infections across the Tasman have seen the New South Wales government introduce a fresh range of Covid-19 restrictions today.

It will mean singing and dancing will be prohibited in hospitality venues (including pubs, clubs, nightclubs, bars and restaurants), entertainment facilities and major recreation facilities.

There will also be a pause on certain non-elective surgeries.

The new measures will last until at least January 27 after there were a staggering 70,000 new infections in 48 hours.

Today the state hit a record 45,098 new cases and nine Covid deaths in the past 24 hours.

This week a Covid-19 modelling expert said New Zealanders could expect an Omicron outbreak to occur in around 18 days if cases of the variant at MIQ continue to skyrocket.

The risk of Omicron entering the community was “very high” as daily cases at the border overtook the number of new cases in the community, University of Canterbury Professor Michael Plank said.

Last night our health ministry allayed fears that a Rotorua-based MIQ worker who tested positive on Wednesday might have contracted the highly contagious Omicron infection from the facility they worked at, saying genomic testing confirmed they had the Delta variant and it had most likely originated in the community.

The fully vaccinatedworker was up-to-date with regular testing and the nature of their work meant they did not normally have direct contact with returnees.

Petrol station exposure site

This morning health officials listed an Otaki petrol station where a Covid-positive person was picked up by police after leaving a property in the Bay of Plenty where they were meant to be isolating.

A ministry spokesperson confirmed police were called to help find an infected person who was found not to be self-isolating at their given address.

The BP Connect Otaki on the Main Highway is now a potential exposure site between4.24pm and 4.32pm yesterday, Friday, January 7.

Those who were filling up with petrol at the same time are being advised to self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms for the next 10 days.

At the same time the Ministry of Health have declined to give further details on a second New Year’s Eve potential super spreader event in Auckland.

The Britomart Block Party was identified as a location of interest with partygoers who saw the new year in at the venue told to watch for Covid symptoms for 10 days after they were exposed to the virus, and get tested if symptoms arose.

It comes days after the Long Room Nightclub on Ponsonby Rd was named as an exposure site after a Covid-infected person attended a new year’s party at the popular inner-city venue.

A Ministry of Health spokesperson said officials wouldn’t be sharing further information about particular exposure events, other than what was detailed on the locations of interest webpage.

There were no compelling public health reasons to do so,the spokesperson said.

The advice for those who attended the Britomart Block Party was that they ​get an immediate test then self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days after exposure, and get another test if any symptoms develop.

The spokesperson said people at the event were considered contacts, and there was risk of onward transmission.

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