There are 95 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the community today.
Two people have died in hospital with Covid.
One person died at Middlemore Hospital overnight, the Ministry of Health said. The family had requested that no information be publicly provided about this person so the ministry did not provide any further details, out of respect.
The second patient who died overnight had been admitted to Auckland City Hospital because of their Covid infection. The case has been referred to the coroner.
The ministry expressed its “heartfelt condolences” to both families.
Today’s two deaths bring the country’s Covid death toll to 46.
There are 56 people in hospital: 13 at North Shore, 16 at Auckland, 24 at Middlemore, one in Waikato, one in Tauranga and one in Nelson-Marlborough.
Of those hospitalised, 30 are unvaccinated or ineligible to be vaccinated. Twelve people are partially immunised. Nine are fully immunised (meaning they got their second dose at least seven days before their infection was detected). Another two cases’ vaccination status is unknown.
Four people are in intensive care: two at Middlemore, one at Auckland and one at North Shore Hospital.
The patients’ average age is 51.
There are 75 new cases in Auckland, 11 in Waikato, five in the Bay of Plenty, one in Lakes, one in Nelson-Tasman, and two in Canterbury – including one Canterbury case that was publicised on Thursday.
A person has also tested positive in Taranaki but will be added to tomorrow’s case numbers.
Pop-up testing is available today at the Waitara War Memorial Hall on Memorial Place, and Taranaki Base Hospital’s testing centre’s hours have been extended from 8am-4pm.
A case previously under investigation in the Southern region has been classified as historical.
There is also one new case at the border. That person arrived from Ireland on December 5 and tested positive through routine testing on day 3 of their managed isolation in Auckland.
Today’s update from the Ministry of Health comes as New Zealand completes one week in the traffic light system.
There are now 3014 people isolating at home in Auckland, including 802 cases of Covid. Another 101 people are isolating at home in Waikato.
Four of the five new cases in Bay of Plenty are in Tauranga, and one is in the Western Bay of Plenty. Four of the cases have been linked and one is still being investigated.
The new Lakes DHB case is in Rotorua and is a household contact of a previously reported case. They are isolating at home.
The new case in the Nelson-Tasman area is linked to the larger Nelson cluster.
A new case was reported last night in Waitara in the Taranaki region – this infection has been linked to two active cases in New Plymouth.
Taranaki’s Public Health Unit has started case investigation work but there are not thought to be any locations of interest at this stage. However, anyone in the Taranaki region with even the mildest symptoms is urged to get tested, even if they are vaccinated.
A new case in Christchurch brings the total active cases in Canterbury to six – they are directly linked to a case reported at the weekend. The person is being transferred to an MIQ facility.
A total of 89 per cent of Kiwis are now fully vaccinated; 94 per cent have had at least one dose of the vaccine.
Just 325 people need to get their first jab in the Whanganui DHB area to reach the first-dose milestone of 90per cent.
Tairāwhiti DHB needs just 266 more people to get their first vaccination to reach 90 per cent first-doses.
Yesterday 21,744 people got a dose of the vaccine. This includes 3374 first doses, 9225 second doses, 714 third primary doses and 8431 booster doses.
Among eligible Māori, 86 per cent have had their first dose and 74 per cent have had a second dose. Meanwhile, 93 per cent of Pacific peoples have had a first dose and 86 per cent have had their second.
In the past 24 hours 27,577 people were tested, 12,521 of those in Auckland.
It comes as the Ōpōtiki District Council is backing calls from iwi leaders to try to block Aucklanders from travelling to the district when the city’s boundary relaxes on Wednesday.
“We are remote, most people are more than three hours from the nearest hospital, and we have a lot of vulnerable and elderly in our communities,” Ōpōtiki councillor Louis Rapihana said.
A person from Ōpōtiki tested positive for Covid, it was announced yesterday. They were outside the region when they received their results and returned to Ōpōtiki to complete required isolation with public health support.
Rapihana, who is also a member of the iwi response unit for Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, said that with Covid continuing to cause disruption and new variants around the world, the simple message from his iwi was to “stay away”.
“We do have some of the highest vaccination rates in the country and this is thanks to the great effort made by our very small medical team, but keeping people and Covid out is our first and best defence against this virus.”
To leave Auckland, travellers must be either fully vaccinated, or have proof of a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arriving at the boundary.
Travel tensions cropped up in the South Island last week as an Air New Zealand flight from Nelson to Christchurch had to sit on the tarmac for half an hour while staff negotiated with two passengers who were refusing to put on masks.
Flight NZ8857 on Thursday last week eventually departed 30 minutes late with the unmasked pair on board, after staff confirmed they had an exemption.
Air New Zealand would not confirm how the two people proved they were exempt from having to wear a mask, but the Herald understands they did not have an official Covid vaccination exemption card.
Air New Zealand’s current Covid-19 policy states that face masks or coverings are required on all flights in all traffic light levels.
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