Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: Record number of daily cases today – 243

There are 243 new community Covid-19 cases today – the highest daily number since the beginning of the pandemic two years ago.

Yesterday, there were 209 new Covid cases in the community.

The record was 222 daily community cases on November 16 last year at the height of the Delta outbreak.

“The continued increase in cases today is a reminder that, as expected, the Omicron variant is spreading in our communities as we have seen in other countries,” the Ministry of Health said of today’s record community case numbers.

“Anyone with any cold or flu symptoms that could be Covid-19 is asked to get a test and isolate at home until a negative result is returned.”

Of today’s new cases, there are 21 in Northland, 165 in Auckland, 34 in Waikato, one in Rotorua, eight in Bay of Plenty, two in Tairāwhiti, six in Hawke’s Bay, two in Wellington and one in Whanganui.

The MOH also officially reported three cases in Nelson Marlborough, which were announced by the ministry yesterday.

The seven-day rolling average of community cases is 148.

“We are reminding you that if you are going away this Waitangi weekend, you should have plans in place in the event you are identified as a close contact, get Covid-19 symptoms, or find out you have Covid-19,” the MOH said.

“You are likely to need to self-isolate wherever you become a close contact or test positive, so there may be extra costs involved in paying for additional accommodation and changing your travel plans.”

There are 10 people in hospital and one person in ICU and the average age of patients is 60. The location of cases in hospital is: North Shore, 2; Middlemore, 3; Auckland, 2; Rotorua, 2; Christchurch: 1.

There are four people in hospital today who were fully vaccinated at least seven days before being reported as a positive Covid-19 case.

Health and welfare providers are now supporting 1830 people in the Auckland region to isolate at home, including 728 cases.

There are no unusual detections of Covid-19 to report in wastewater today.

Meanwhile, people on the flight Jetstar 252, Wellington-Auckland on January 29 between 7.59am and 8.59am are considered a close contact if seated in rows 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7. Those passengers are advised to self-isolate and test immediately.

Two other new locations of interest include the F45 Training gym at 348 New North Rd, Kingsland on January 26 between 12.06pm and 1.15pm and a private event at the Tarka Indian Eatery in Mission Bay on January 30 from 6.30pm to 11pm.

There were 26 new cases identified at the border today. The seven-day rolling average of border cases is 44.

There are 5243 active contacts being managed by the MOH.

There were 21,471 Covid-19 tests taken in the past 24 hours.

Yesterday was a record day for booster shots across New Zealand, with 66,864 doses administered, taking the total so far to more than 1.5 million.

It comes as 1 million Kiwis yesterday became eligible for their booster after the interval was reduced from four to three months.

The MoH has urged: “If you’re over 18 and your booster is due, please get it now.”

As of today, more than 90 per cent of Hawke’s Bay’s Māori population have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Twelve DHB regions now have more than 90 per cent of Māori partially vaccinated.

The number of vaccines administered to date across the percentage of eligible New Zealanders is: 4,046,832 first doses (96 per cent); 3,971,743 second doses (94 per cent); 1,511,766 booster doses (49 per cent).

There have been 192,661 first doses of paediatric vaccines administered to date. This represents 40 per cent of 5 to 11-year-olds in New Zealand.

Covid-19 modeller professor Michael Plank yesterday said although Omicron infections had so far risen slightly slower than in many other countries, case numbers were still doubling roughly every four days.

“It is likely we’ll see record cases numbers very soon, if not [today] then I think it will be within the next few days.”

Plank said it was too early to predict how New Zealand’s Omicron outbreak would pan out.

So far the average daily case numbers had doubled about every four to five days, whereas they had doubled every two to three days in some countries.

If New Zealand can keep the doubling of infections to the lower end of that scale, it will be quite good by comparison, he said.

“We’ll also find that our red traffic light system and the measures people are taking are doing their job, which is to slow things down and spread out the load on our health systems,” he said.

Daily numbers were still far below earlier modelling tipping as many as 50,000 new cases could be emerging by Waitangi Day.

However, as pandemic-weary Kiwis seek a more normal life involving unimpeded overseas travel and no lockdowns, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday urged against complacency.

The threat of infection spread has triggered a warning to holidaymakers in a week which has seen Auckland once more become the nation’s Covid hotspot.

Officials warned this week that travel contributed to the spread of the infection and said it was important people going away took measures to reduce the risk of both catching and spreading the virus.

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