16 Jan 2022

Covid-19 update: Border worker confirmed as Omicron case

7:25 pm on 16 January 2022

The border worker who was yesterday reported as Covid-19 positive has been confirmed to have the Omicron variant.

Coronavirus outbreak, COVID-19  under microscope. Danger virus background. 3d rendering.

Photo: 123rf.com

The Auckland MIQ worker returned a positive test result as part of routine testing.

The Ministry of Health has now confirmed that the worker has caught the Omicron variant.

More than 50 close contacts have so far been identified.

All of the case's seven household contacts identified have already been contacted, isolated and tested, and returned a negative result.

The case and one household contact are now isolating in a MIQ facility. The remaining household contacts are isolating at locations in Auckland and Taupō.

A further 48 close contacts are in the process of being contacted; 15 of them have returned a negative test, including five in Taupō.

The worker, who was infectious from 10 January, took two bus services in Auckland and visited a supermarket and four other stores in the city.

Those locations, and areas of the MIQ facility are considered high-risk, and the Ministry of Health says anyone in Auckland with symptoms should get tested.

All the latest locations of interest can be found on the Ministry of Health's website.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the person had done "everything by the book" and had been acting in very cautious way.

Health officials were working fast to reach all close contacts, she said.

"At this stage, however, it looks like it has been found relatively early. We have a good list of those who we are seeking, and at this stage it's looking like our contact tracing is able to do the work for us."

It is inevitable Omicron will enter the community, she said.

"What the most recent case in a MIF (managed isolation facility) worker demonstrates is that our systems are playing a very important role in working to try and hold Omicron at our border, but it is sadly a case of when, not if."

Ardern said that is why the government was asking people to please be up to date with their vaccinations.

"We've brought forward boosters because we know it has an impact in protecting people from severe illness with Omicron, so please if you're eligible, go out and get your booster and help us prepare."

There are 25 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today, and 43 in MIQ.

The new community cases are in Northland (1), Auckland (15), Bay of Plenty (3), Rotorua (2), one in Hamilton and one in Ngāruawāhia, two in Hastings and one in Wellington.

The cases at the border arrived from: Australia, France, India, the UK, Fiji, the UAE, Turkey and Ireland.

There are 22 people in hospital with two in intensive care or HDU.

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