4 February 2022
Omicron has replaced Delta as the dominant variant of COVID-19 in Northland.
"There were twenty-one new cases notified to the Public Health Unit in the past 24 hours – the highest number of cases notified in a day for Northland," noted Medical Officer of Health, Dr Bart Willems, Ngā Tai Ora - Public Health Northland.
"At the moment, cases are increasing rapidly in the Kerikeri area, and it is likely that eventually, we will see similar trends in other areas of Northland. However, anyone can help to slow it down."
A slower and more controlled outbreak will help us protect Māori and our most vulnerable by allowing time for more vaccinations and supporting the healthcare system to care for everyone who needs it safely.
"In an extremely fast and uncontrolled outbreak, Northland is more vulnerable to the risk of health services and critical services being unable to keep up with demands."
For most, the severity of COVID disease is likely to be milder with Omicron infection, but many will still have severe disease needing hospital care.
"Because of the infectiousness and speed of spread of Omicron, the numbers of people with severe disease at any one time could still pose a risk to the health system and critical services.
"We'd like to make sure that everyone who needs hospital care will be able to access it."
The number of people who will need to isolate and stay at home at a single time could also mean that there are fewer people available to keep critical services operational.
Unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated people are most at risk and during this outbreak it’s likely that about 75 percent of our unvaccinated population (over 20,000 people) will get Omicron.
"Vaccination remains our most effective weapon against the virus. However, now that Omicron is in our community, we expect case numbers to grow rapidly and put our Northland health system other critical services like food, water and energy providers under considerable pressure."
How to slow down the spread of Omicron:
Northland COVID-19 Update - Friday 4 February 2022
For further information, please contact:
Liz Inch, Communications Manager
Phone 09 4304101 extn 60518