17 Dec 2021

Covid-19: 76 new community cases reported in New Zealand today

1:46 pm on 17 December 2021

There have been 76 new community cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand today.

Medical staff member with mask and protective equipment holds Coronavirus nasal swabs test tubes at drive-through testing point in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

Photo: 123RF

In a statement, the Ministry of Health said there are 51 cases in hospital today and five people in ICU.

The hospital patients include two in Waikato, two in Tauranga, one in Christchurch and the rest in Auckland.

Today's cases are within the new 24-hour reporting timeframe of midnight Wednesday to 11.59pm Thursday.

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

Two of the three new cases in Taranaki are linked to the Eltham cluster and the third is based in New Plymouth.

The Waikato cases include six in Hamilton and six in Te Kūiti. The 10 cases in the Bay of Plenty are all in the Tauranga area and nine are linked to previously reported cases.

There were also three new cases identified at the border.

There have now been 10,129 cases in the current community outbreak and 12,947 confirmed cases since the pandemic began.

The Health Ministry said the virus has also been detected in a wastewater sample taken in Napier on Wednesday.

"This could be due to recently recovered cases returning to the region who are shedding the virus, transient visitors, or it could signal undetected cases in the community."

There are no known Covid-19 cases self-isolating in Napier.

Omicron in NZ update

The Health Ministry also gave an update in New Zealand's first case of the Omicron variant in a Christchurch managed isolation facility.

It said two other passengers on the international flight the case arrived on have tested positive for Covid-19 and one further passenger's positive result is being investigated as a historical infection.

It said one of these infections was the Delta variant, while whole genome sequencing for the other two is due later today.

These three have been moved to a managed quarantine facility.

All of the passengers on the same international and domestic flights as the Omicron case are being treated as close contacts, and all are isolating in a managed isolation facility. All other passengers have returned negative tests so far.

"While the arrival of a new variant is concerning, New Zealand is well placed to manage Omicron cases with isolation and testing requirements for all new arrivals, robust infection and prevention control and PPE measures at airports and MIQ facilities, and frequent surveillance testing of staff who have any contact with recent returnees," the ministry said.

Vaccine rates

The ministry said both Capital & Coast and Auckland DHBs are close to reaching 90 percent fully vaccinated for their eligible Māori populations.

"For Auckland DHB, just 1339 of the eligible population need a second dose to reach the 90 percent milestone, while in the Capital & Coast DHB region, an additional 1480 vaccinations are needed to reach the mark."

It said four of the country's smaller DHBs were also closing in on 90 percent fully vaccinated of the eligible population - Wairarapa DHB needs just 157 more doses, South Canterbury 516 doses, MidCentral 778 doses, and Nelson-Marlborough 1183 doses to hit the milestone.

Across the country, there were more than 21,000 vaccine doses given yesterday, including 2434 first doses; 8294 second doses; 726 third primary doses and 10,018 booster doses.

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