MIQ worker tests positive for Covid, 29 community cases

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 15 Jan 2022, 1:13PM
(Photo / File)
(Photo / File)

MIQ worker tests positive for Covid, 29 community cases

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 15 Jan 2022, 1:13PM

An MIQ worker has tested positive for Covid-19 amid 29 new communuity cases. 

The Auckland-based MIQ worker returned a positive result for Covid-19 late yesterday afternoon and is currently in isolation, the Ministry of Health said. 

The test was taken as part of routine border worker surveillance testing. The Herald understands the person worked at the Stamford Plaza Hotel. 

Investigations are underway to determine if the infection originated from the community or the facility, the ministry said 

It comes as the total Covid cases detected at the border is now often more than double the new Delta community cases, leading top officials to predict an Omicron outbreak is expected within two weeks. 

Yesterday, 18 people were reported to be infected with the virus in the community, compared to 43 new cases picked up in managed isolation facilities. 

Ministry of Health data showed the majority of cases popping up at the border are the highly contagious Omicron variant, with 266 cases detected in MIQ since December 1. 

More than 18,000 people have arrived in New Zealand during that period. 

A ministry spokesperson told the Herald on Thursday that international evidence indicated that if Omicron slipped through MIQ, it would spread rapidly in the New Zealand community. 

That could lead to it becoming more common than Delta in just one fortnight. 

Despite the risk of its imminent arrival, 55 per cent of Kiwis eligible to get their booster shot are yet it receive it, the ministry said. 

Health officials strongly recommend boosters for anyone over the age of 18, who had their second vaccine dose at least four months ago. 

"Vaccination remains our key defence against all variants of Covid including Omicron." 

The locations of new community cases reported on Friday are in Auckland (11), Waikato (4), Bay of Plenty (1) and Canterbury (2). 

Of the four Waikato cases, three were in Ngāruawāhia and one was in Huntly. All were linked to a previously reported case. 

On Friday, 34 people were fighting Covid in hospital, two of those were in ICU at Middlemore and Tauranga. Nine of those were unvaccinated or not eligible to be jabbed, five had one jab and nine were double-vaccinated. 

Of those, four are at North Shore, eight are at Auckland City, 17 are at Middlemore, four are at Tauranga and one is at Waikato. 

While Omicron appeared to be less detrimental to a person's health than Delta, a ministry spokesperson said limiting demand on intensive care and ward beds, ventilators and health staff would be key in New Zealand's response. 

As of Thursday, 65 per cent of intensive care/high dependency unit beds and 84 per cent of ward beds were occupied, with 18 per cent of ventilators in use. Only a small number were being used by Covid-positive patients. 

However, there was the capacity to surge ICU bed numbers and DHBs had options to administer a range of oxygen therapies outside ICU.