First suspected case of Omicron in Taranaki

26 January 2022

Today the Ministry of Health confirmed a new COVID-19 case in Taranaki, that has been linked to the January Omicron cluster.

Taranaki DHB’s COVID-19 response manager, Gillian Campbell, says this person was on the same flight as the air steward who has been identified as part of this cluster. The person has been isolating in New Plymouth since being identified as a close contact.

“Our Public Health team has started investigation work to determine if there are any additional exposure events. Any new locations of interest will be published on the Ministry of Health website as they are identified.

“We expected that we could get some positive results from the flight exposure into New Plymouth last week, and that appears to be the situation with the new case. Whole genome sequencing is underway but, in the interim, this case is being treated as a suspected Omicron.

“All close contacts identified to date are in isolation and being tested for COVID-19,” says Mrs Campbell.

The new case was notified after the daily cut-off for reporting and will be included in tomorrow’s official Ministry of Health figures.

Mrs Campbell reminds the public of the isolation rules if they become positive or are a close contact of a positive case.

“Everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and everyone who lives with them and their close contacts will need to isolate from the community to help stop the spread of the virus.

“If you test positive for COVID-19 your doctor or a health professional will contact you to explain what you need to do. But it’s essential you stay at home or your accommodation, unless a health professional tells you otherwise. You will need to isolate for at least 14 days while you recover and be symptom-free for 72 hours, regardless of whether you’re vaccinated.”

Testing remains available seven days a week in Taranaki and anyone with even mild symptoms should get tested.

Vaccination must now be a priority for everyone, says Mrs Campbell.

“With Omicron knocking at our door we must look at the best ways to protect ourselves, our whānau and our wider community. So please get vaccinated, wear your face masks everywhere, keep sanitising and record your whereabouts by scanning into every venue you visit or work in.


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