Christmas Covid - 126 cases over past two days, seven Omicron cases in MIQ

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 26 Dec 2021, 1:24pm
(Photo / Sylvie Whinray)
(Photo / Sylvie Whinray)

Christmas Covid - 126 cases over past two days, seven Omicron cases in MIQ

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 26 Dec 2021, 1:24pm

There have been 126 new community cases - and seven Omicron cases in MIQ - over the past two days, the Ministry of Health says. 

Community cases include 88 in Auckland, 17 in Waikato, 6 in Bay of Plenty, 13 in Lakes, and one each in Taranaki and Northland. 

There are also two cases in Gisborne - these were announced by Tairāwhiti DHB on Thursday afternoon but won't be formally added to the tally until tomorrow, due to Tairāwhiti data reporting issues. 

Both cases are linked to a case in Tauranga and are isolating at home. 

Seven Omicron cases were identified at the border over the past two days, taking the total number of cases of the new variant in MIQ to 45. 

They were among 10 total border cases in the past two days - that includes one historical infection in a person who arrived on December 21 and tested positive for Covid on day 1 of their stay. 

The 10 cases include three family members who arrived together from Australia on December 20 and all tested positive on day 3 of their MIQ stay. 

Covid has been detected in the wastewater in Te Puke from a December 22 sample, and in Seaview in the Hutt Valley from a sample taken on December 23. 

There's also a new detection in Whangarei's wastewater, following an earlier negative result. More samples are being taken from these and other areas this week for analysis. 

The data has just been released in a statement from the Ministry of Health. 

There are 47 people in hospital - four in Tauranga, two in Waikato, five at North Shore, 14 at Auckland and 22 at Middlemore. 

Seven people are in ICU or a high dependency unit - two in Tauranga, two at Auckland and three at Middlemore. 

The average age of those currently in hospital is 55. 

Among those in hospital in Northern region wards, 42 per cent are unvaccinated and 16 per cent are not fully immunised. Another 42 per cent are fully vaccinated. 

The Taranaki case was announced by the DHB yesterday - they are in Eltham and are linked to a previously reported case in the same town. 

In Auckland, there are 1492 people self-isolating at home including 414 cases. 

The Northland case is in Hikurangi. They are still being interviewed to work out where they contracted Covid and identify any contacts. 

It was revealed yesterday that 55 prisoners and 21 staff at Auckland Region Women's Corrections Facility were in isolation after a staff member tested positive for Covid-19 on Christmas Eve. 

All those affected were being tested for the virus, regional commissioner Lynette Cave said. 

The infected staff member is fully vaccinated - as all prison-based staff in New Zealand are required to be - and last worked at the prison between December 17 and 20. 

Just over two-thirds - or 167 - of the 248 prisoners at the facility were fully vaccinated as of December 19, just under the national average of 68.1 per cent of prisoners being fully vaccinated. 

On Christmas Eve, another person with Covid-19 died. Nearly half of the 50 deaths from the virus in New Zealand have occurred in the past four months as a result of the ongoing Delta outbreak. 

University of Otago epidemiologist Michael Baker said every death was tragic and urged Kiwis not to get complacent over the holidays. 

"That is a sad milestone ... and 50 deaths is, of course, too many," he told RNZ. 

In a global context, New Zealanders had a lot for which to be thankful, he said. 

"This still means that New Zealand has by far the lowest mortality rate in the OECD, and it is several hundred-fold less than in most high-income countries. 

"We can be grateful ... that as a nation we have really gotten behind this cohesive, responsible approach which is mostly about looking after our family members and our wider community." 

While Baker hoped New Zealanders had a chance to enjoy the festive season, he urged people not to take a break from Covid-19 measures. 

"I really hope that New Zealanders do take this time to have a relaxing, enjoyable holiday without getting complacent.'