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39 new community cases, suspected infectious Palmerston North Omicron case was double-jabbed

Today’s update from the Ministry of Health on the COVID situation in New Zealand.

Palmerston North COVID-19 case

Today the Ministry of Health is reporting one new possible Omicron case in Palmerston North. Local DHB MidCentral District Health Board announced the case this morning.

This case was in a MIQ facility in Christchurch and tested negative on day 9, before being released on 16 January (Sunday), after returning a negative test result on five occasions throughout their stay.

The case became symptomatic yesterday and got tested. They returned a positive COVID-19 test result yesterday evening.

Urgent whole genome sequencing is underway though, as this case was staying at a MIQ facility at the same time as known Omicron cases, as a prudent measure it is being treated as a Omicron case. Investigations are underway to determine the source of infection, including possible in-facility transmission.

The case is considered to have been infectious from 17 January (Monday) and there are exposure events associated with their movements, including an early childhood centre. Initial locations of interest associated with the individual have been published this morning and more will be added as they are identified.

The case, who has had two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is now isolating at home with their family.

Palmerston North locations of interest:

  • Postie Plus​ on Rangitīkei St between 11.15am and 11.45am on Wednesday.
  • South African shop eSANZ​ between 2.15pm and 2.30pm on Wednesday.
  • Steelmasters on Tremaine Ave between 3.10pm and 3.28pm on Monday.
  • Amare Safety on Tremaine Ave between 3pm and 3.10pm on Monday and 11.45am and 11.50am on Wednesday.
  • Bunnings in Palmerston North between 4.54pm and 5.05pm on Monday and 10.30am and 10.48am on Tuesday.
  • Manawatū Locksmith on Princess St between 11.07am and 11.12am on Wednesday.
  • Cafe 116 on Napier Rd on Wednesday between 10.40am and 11am on Wednesday.
  • Repco on Tremaine Ave between 3.55pm and 4.35pm on Monday, between 10.20am and 10.30am on Tuesday and 1.55pm and 2.05pm on Wednesday.
  • ANZA Motor Company on Taonui St between 3.15pm and 3.30pm on Monday and 12pm and 12.15pm on Wednesday.

Auckland Omicron case update

As announced last night, there are now three confirmed Omicron cases in the Auckland region. These include a MIQ border worker and their household contact, and a worker at Auckland Airport.

At this stage, one additional contact associated with these cases has tested positive for COVID-19. This case is a household contact of the MIQ worker and was already isolating when they tested positive. Whole genome sequencing is underway, but the assumption is this case has the Omicron variant.

The highest priority for local Public Health staff relates to contacts who were at the Ara-Tai Café Half Moon Bay at the same time as the worker at Auckland Airport. This location of interest is high risk and people that may have visited this location are asked to follow the advice below.

  • Ara-Tai Café Half Moon Bay: Inside seated customers, 18 January. 12.30pm-2.00pm. *You are a CLOSE contact if you were a seated INSIDE customer. Self-isolate, test immediately and on day 5 after you were exposed at this location of interest. Further isolation and testing requirements will be provided by Public Health.
  • Ara-Tai Café Half Moon Bay: Outside seated customers, 18 January. 12.30pm-2.00pm. You are a CASUAL contact if you were a seated OUTSIDE customer* Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 10 days after you were exposed. If symptoms develop, get a test and stay at home until you get a negative test result

As of this morning, a total of 88 contacts have been identified in relation to the MIQ border worker. At this stage, 84 have returned negative test results and two have returned a positive result. This includes a positive household contact that was reported earlier this week, and an additional household contact reported today.

As of this morning, a total of 39 contacts have been identified in relation to the worker at Auckland Airport. At this stage, 13 have returned negative test results.

Investigations into the source of infection are ongoing.

Omicron update

To date, there have been 440 Omicron COVID-19 cases detected at the border since 1 December, and 32 cases of the Delta variant.


  • Cases in hospital: 21; North Shore: 6; Auckland: 8; Middlemore: 7.
  • Vaccination status of current hospitalisations (Northern Region wards only): Unvaccinated or not eligible (7 cases / 37%); partially immunised <7 days from second dose or have only received one dose (2 case / 10%); fully vaccinated at least 7 days before being reported as a case (9 cases / 47%); unknown (1 case / 5%).
  • Average age of current hospitalisations: 55
  • Cases in ICU or HDU: 1; Middlemore: 1.


  • Seven day rolling average of community cases: 22
  • Seven day rolling average of border cases: 37
  • Number of new community cases: 39
  • Number of new cases identified at the border: 46
  • Location of new community cases: Auckland (21), Lakes (14), Hawke’s Bay (2), Canterbury (1), West Coast (1).
  • Number of community cases (total): 11,360 (in current community outbreak)
  • Cases epidemiologically linked (total): 8,670
  • Number of active cases (total): 525 (cases identified in the past 21 days and not yet classified as recovered)
  • Confirmed cases (total): 14,959

COVID numbers and statistics in New Zealand are obtained by way of the PCR test.

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  1. “COVID numbers and statistics in New Zealand are obtained by way of the PCR test.”

    Oh, you mean the PCR test that returns up to 90% false positive readings? The one its inventor, Kerry Mullins, said was not designed to be used in the way our government has been using it to test for Covid, that one?


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