Covid 19 Delta outbreak: 31 new cases in the community – new border-related Omicron case

There is a third border-related case with the Omicron variant, the Ministry of Health said today.

There are a total of 31 new cases of Covid-19 in the community, the latest data shows.

The person with Omicron, who is fully vaccinated, is a household contact of the Air New Zealand crew member who tested positive last week with the highly transmissible variant.

They have been in isolation during their symptomatic period. Public health staff are continuing to investigate. However, at this stage there are no locations of interest or exposure events.

The household contact has now been transferred to a MIQ facility. The second household contact, who is also in isolation, continues to test negative.

Twenty-nine cases have been found at the border and some are expected to have the Omicron variant. Whole genome sequencing was ongoing.

Of today’s community cases, 14 are in Auckland, one is in Waikato, 12 are in Bay of Plenty and four in Lakes.

Fifty-three people with Covid-19 are in hospital. Nine are at North Shore, 16 at Auckland, 22 at Middlemore, five at Tauranga and one at Rotorua.

Almost half (20) are either unvaccinated or ineligible for the vaccine. Eight people had received one dose, 14 were fully vaccinated, with the remainder unknown.

Of the six people in intensive care or high dependency units, three are at Middlemore and three at Tauranga

In Auckland, 1174 people are isolating at home, including 340 people with the virus.

The one new case in the Waikato is in Waharoa and has been linked to previous cases.

Fifty-six people with the virus in Waikato are isolating at home.

Of the Bay of Plenty’s 12 cases, 11 are in Tauranga and one is in the Western BOP district. Eight are linked to other cases while investigations are ongoing for the others.

In the Lakes area, the four new cases are in Rotorua and all linked to previous cases.

There have been no unexpected wastewater detections in the past 24 hours.

A total of 6188 vaccines were administered yesterday – 363 first doses, 1306 second doses, 25 third primary doses and 4494 booster doses.

The number of booster doses administered was 1500 greater than Sunday. The interval between getting a second dose and a booster reduces from six to four months tomorrow.

Overall, 92 per cent of Kiwis are fully vaccinated, 94 per cent have had at least one dose. The levels for Pasifika are almost identical, with 91 per cent fully vaccinated and 95 per cent with one dose.

For Māori, 81 per cent were double dosed and 88 per cent were partially vaccinated, the Ministry of Health said.

Yesterday, no further cases of the highly transmissible Omicron variant had been registered in the community or at the border. About 90 people with Omicron had been intercepted at the border so far.

Case numbers were low yesterday, at just 27 – 12 were in Auckland, 7 in Waikato, 7 in the Bay of Plenty and 1 in the Lakes DHB area.

There were 24 new cases in MIQ but none had yet been identified as the Omicron variant.

All contacts of the Omicron case who was out in the community last week – DJ Dimension – had tested negative to date as testing continued.

It comes as the Ministry of Health revealed the DJ – real name Robert Etheridge – wouldn’t be referred to police for prosecution following Etheridge leaving home isolation early and risking spreading the new variant in the community.

Nearly 100 people have been ordered to self-isolate as a result of his excursions, which included visiting the Impala nightclub.

“The ministry continues to assess the need for enforcement action in relation to breaches of the Covid-19 Public Health Response Order on a case-by-case basis, and may seek action in instances where this would support the public health response,” the ministry said in a statement.

A police spokeswoman said any enforcement action over broken isolation rules would come after consultation with the Ministry of Health – and would generally follow a referral from it, which hadn’t been received.

National Party Covid-19 response spokesman Chris Bishop was “surprised” by the decision.

“The rules are there for a reason,” Bishop told the Herald on Monday.

“Ultimately, it’s a decision for the officials to make,” he added. “But I think people will raise their eyebrows at that one. If rules aren’t enforced, why should people follow them?”

Bishop said the entire situation has got on people’s nerves – not just the decision whether or not to prosecute.

“People, I’ve found, are pretty fired up by the fact this guy has been here three times in the past 12 months,” he said of the performer. “It seems easier to enter New Zealand as a DJ than as an ICU nurse.”

During a press conference on Thursday, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said he was disappointed with the performer for not following the rules but he declined to say whether he should be prosecuted. The performer has already received a punishment of sorts in the court of public opinion, he suggested.

On Sunday, 2990 vaccines were administered – 2220 of them were booster shots and another 13 were third primary doses.

Just 135 were first doses and 622 were second doses.

From tomorrow, the number of booster shots was likely to jump as that’s the day when the interval between second doses and boosters will drop to four months.

Anyone aged 18 and over who had their second dose at least four months ago can get a booster dose.

In Auckland, the Airport Park and Ride drive-through vaccination centre has reopened, which will add “significant surge capacity” for vaccination efforts.

The drive-through is located at 42 Verissimo Drive, Māngere, and operates from 10am-5pm with no appointment needed. It can vaccinate more than 4000 people per day.

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