ZB

76 new community Covid cases; positive wastewater test in Napier

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 17 Dec 2021, 12:21pm
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

76 new community Covid cases; positive wastewater test in Napier

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 17 Dec 2021, 12:21pm

There are 76 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today. 

The new cases are in Auckland (47), Waikato (15), Bay of Plenty (10), Lakes (1) and Taranaki (3). 

There are 51 people in hospital across New Zealand and five people in ICU or HDU, the Ministry of Health said in today's 1pm Covid update. 

There has been a detection of Covid-19 in wastewater in Napier on December 15. The ministry says there are no known cases of Covid in the city. 

With the arrival of Omicron, officials say they will be issuing more information on the case and next steps after it emerged a passenger had tested positive in routine testing after touching down in New Zealand. 

That passenger is currently in quarantine at the Sudima Christchurch Airport hotel. 

It comes as new community cases in the current Delta outbreak continue to hover under the 100 mark, with 91 new infections yesterday, including a Taranaki school cluster growing to 16 and 58 people being treated in hospitals across New Zealand. 

Despite no active cases in Gisborne, a worrying sixth detection of Covid in wastewater had health authorities urging people in the district who had symptoms no matter how mild to come forward and get tested. 

Yesterday it was revealed contact tracing was under way to identify passengers on the international flight from Germany that arrived here on December 10 and the chartered internal flight between Auckland and Christchurch. 

The infected traveller is fully vaccinated with two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. 

As a precautionary measure, all passengers on the affected flights are now completing 10 days at a managed isolation facility rather than spend the last three days of their isolation period in self-isolation. This will mean they are not able to be out before Christmas. 

Booster shot advice 

Earlier today, director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the arrival of Omicron on our shores could lead to a reduction in the recommended time double-jabbed New Zealanders should wait before getting a booster shot. 

Bloomfield said evidence from cases overseas showed the third booster jab was important in the fight against Omicron. 

He had been given advice in the past couple of days on the time period between getting the second jab and the booster shot. 

Currently, there is a six-month period between those two jabs. 

He said the advice he has been given in recent days will be up for discussion among Government officials and ministers. 

"It may be that a shorter interval will ensure that people do get that booster and increase their protection at the right time in case we get Omicron in the country." 

He expected there would be an announcement on bringing the booster shots forward before Christmas, but that was up to ministers to decide. 

Bloomfield told Newstalk ZB there had been no further detections of Omicron in those who travelled alongside the infected person on flights to and across New Zealand. 

He said all the people on the flight that brought the people to New Zealand and the linking domestic flight to Christchurch were in quarantine and undergoing testing regimes. 

"We'll be watching closely to see if there are any other positive tests." 

NZ hits key vaccination target 

The news Omicron had found its way to New Zealand came on the same day the Government announced it had reached the 90 per cent double jabbed vaccination rate across New Zealand. 

As of Thursday 3,789,662 of 4,209,057 eligible New Zealanders aged 12 and over were fully vaccinated. 

The populations in seven district health boards had now reached the mark with more to reach the milestone in coming days, said the ministry.