Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: People urged to act as though Omicron is in their community as cases increase

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Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: People urged to act as though Omicron is in their community as cases increase

The public has been told to act as though Omicron is circulating in their community as recorded case numbers of the variant grew by 15 to 105 yesterday.

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“We’re asking everyone in New Zealand to act like Omicron is circulating in their community,” the Ministry of Health said in its statement yesterday, which meant wearing a mask indoors around people you didn’t know, social distancing and using the Covid-19 tracer app.

Anyone with symptoms, no matter how mild, was urged to get tested and stay home until they had received their result. The most common early symptoms for Omicron were a sore or scratchy throat, and a runny nose.

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There are now active cases being treated as Omicron in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Mid Central and Nelson-Tasman.

Some of the Omicron cases noted yesterday had already been reported as Covid-19 cases but were linked retrospectively through whole genome sequencing or epidemiologically.

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Overall, there were 105 community cases reported yesterday (combining both Delta and Omicron) across Auckland (76), Waikato (5), Tairāwhiti (1 – first reported on Thursday), Bay of Plenty (9 – 3 were first reported Thursday), Lakes (7), Hawke’s Bay (1), Mid Central (1), Nelson Tasman (2 – first reported on Thursday) and Canterbury (3 – first reported yesterday).

The ministry announced a second case in Hawke’s Bay yesterday that would be recorded in today’s tally and was linked to Soundsplash Festival, held at Mystery Creek near Hamilton last weekend.

Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: People urged to act as though Omicron is in their community as cases increase

Health authorities have asked people to be cautious and act as though Omicron was circulating in their community. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Health officials confirmed earlier in the week that five people had tested positive for Covid-19, including one with Omicron, after attending the festival. However, a teenager named Emma said that of her group of about 30 friends who went to the festival, she and 12 others had tested positive for the virus.

“I got tested just as like a precaution and then when mine came back positive, I told everyone to get tested,” she told RNZ.

“Then everyone got tested and slowly the results have been coming back and it’s been one out of every three has been positive.”

Meanwhile, in the Bay of Plenty, public health officials’ attention is on another event, Polo in the Bay in Mount Maunganui, which was attended by a large number of people including Covid-19 cases suspected to be Omicron.

The event at Trustpower Baypark stadium on January 22 is a location of interest and anyone at the Good George Gin Caravan from 2pm-4.30pm or The Polo Lounge Bar in the general admission area from 12.57pm-6.15pm is a close contact and needs to self-isolate and get tested immediately and on day five.

Those at the stadium between 1pm and 6.15pm but not the bar were casual contacts and needed to self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms for 10 days.

At least 90 per cent of residents in 17 DHB regions have now had two doses of Covid-19 vaccine with West Coast DHB the latest to reach the milestone.

The South Island DHB’s senior responsible officer for Covid-19 response Philip Wheble said reaching the mark was no mean feat given the geographical spread of its coast communities from Karamea to Haast.

“I’m hopeful that because of our high vaccination rates, we won’t see many West Coasters falling seriously ill even if they catch Covid-19.”

Wheble thanked Māori health provider Poutini Waiora, West Coast Primary Health Organisation, GPs and pharmacies, midwives and community leaders who had “gone above and beyond” reach communities.

Nationally, 94 per cent of eligible people have had two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and 65 per cent of those due for their booster shot have had it. Overall, 29 per cent of 5 to 11-year-olds in New Zealand have had their first dose of the paediatric vaccine.

Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: People urged to act as though Omicron is in their community as cases increase

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