19 Dec 2021

Covid-19 update: 55 new community cases in NZ; five more Omicron cases in MIQ

1:36 pm on 19 December 2021

There are 55 new community cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today and five more cases of the Omicron variant in recent international arrivals, the Health Ministry says.

Samples awaiting testing for novel coronavirus Covid-19, are pictured at Biogroup Laboratory's lab in west London on January 21, 2021.

Photo: AFP

The new Omicron cases in MIQ take New Zealand's total to 13.

Four of these cases remain in managed isolation. One person has now recovered and has been released.

The recovered case arrived from London via Singapore on 7 December. This case tested positive on day one and was closely managed in MIQ, the Ministry said in a statement.

The person was never in the community while infectious.

Of the new community cases, 41 are in Auckland, with the remainder spread between Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki.

In Waikato, four new cases were reported overnight; three are in Te Kūiti and one is in Tokoroa. Of these cases, three are linked to an existing case and one case remains under investigation to determine any links to previous cases.

There are four pop-up and dedicated testing sites operating throughout Waikato today with sites in Hamilton, Te Kūiti, Huntly, Taumarunui, and Ōtorohanga, the Ministry said.

Two people are receiving care at Waikato Hospital.

There are seven new cases in Taranaki. Of these, four are linked to the Eltham cluster, two are linked to the New Plymouth case and one will be officially transferred to Auckland's case numbers as they live there for work purposes but have a permanent Taranaki address.

There are three new cases in Tauranga today - all linked and contacts of previous cases.

There are currently 56 people in hospital, with six in intensive care or a high dependency unit - 10 in North Shore Hospital; 26 in Auckland; 15 in Middlemore Hospital: two in Waikato and three in Tauranga.

Vaccine update

The eight millionth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine has now been administered in New Zealand. This includes first doses, second doses and boosters, as well as third doses intended for those who are immune compromised. The tally includes both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.

More than 15,000 doses of the vaccines were delivered yesterday.

MidCentral and Hutt Valley have now reached 90 percent first doses for Māori, becoming the fourth and fifth DHB areas to achieve this milestone.

Yesterday 18,412 people were tested for Covid-19.

There were 39 community cases announced yesterday and another four new cases of Omicron within MIQ, taking the total to eight.

There were 49 people in hospital yesterday with five of these in ICU or HDU.

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