Nelson Marlborough Health News and Notices

Nelson Anniversary Long Weekend

Due to the Nelson Anniversary long weekend there will be no local updates on the January Omicron Cluster.

The Ministry of Health will continue to report any confirmed cases in the Nelson Marlborough region. These updates can be found on the Unite Against COVID-19 website. 

The Communications team would like to say thank you for keeping up-to-date over the past week. Local updates will resume on Tuesday 1 February.  

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No new cases in Nelson Tasman

Case Update

  • New cases – 0
  • Active cases – 17  (16 confirmed, 1 probable)
  • 173 tests across Nelson Marlborough on Thursday.
  • 2064 total vaccinations across Nelson Marlborough with 1554 boosters and 377 paediatric doses on Thursday.

There are no further cases of COVID-19 in Nelson Marlborough to announce today. An exposure event* at the Motueka Kindergarten on 18 January has been identified through contact tracing.

Dr Stephen Bridgman, Medical Officer of Health said “The Public Health team are working closely with Motueka Kindergarten and the Regional Director of Education at the Ministry of Education.”

Public Health continue with source investigations for the third household, who had two cases announced on Tuesday and two cases on Wednesday. The investigations are yet to rule out the possibility of local transmission.

“It is really important for anyone with symptoms to come forward for testing,” Dr Bridgman said. “We had 173 tests completed across Nelson Marlborough yesterday, a reduction on the numbers from the day before. New locations of interest have been added to the Ministry of Health website and anyone with symptoms across Te Tauihu should come forward for testing.

Widespread testing of people with symptoms allows us to understand whether there is undetected community transmission. It is particularly important in this ‘stamp it out’ phase while we try and allow as many people as possible to receive their vaccinations and prepare their households for Omicron.

We are now a week in to this cluster and I reflect on the impact of the initial whānau presenting for testing. Their quick action and ongoing support has allowed us to manage the cluster through testing, contact tracing and isolation in this ‘stamp it out’ phase.

Their action has also allowed New Zealand to respond to Omicron. Nationally the announcement of Omicron cases has driven significant demand for vaccination ensuring the best protection for individuals, whānau and our health system.

So thank you to all the whānau who have been working with us in this cluster. We are grateful to those people who have presented so far for testing and to contacts and close contacts who are protecting our community through isolation and quarantine. The action from our community and local businesses has been pivotal to our ability to manage the spread of COVID-19.

It’s important to make best use of this time now to get prepared for when Omicron cases do peak in the months ahead. The Unite Against COVID-19 website has a step by step planning guide and checklist to ensure your household is ready. Take a moment this weekend to talk to your whānau, friends and neighbours about your Omicron plan.

*Not all exposure events will become locations of interest if health officials can identify everyone who may have been exposed. 


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Two new cases in Nelson Tasman within an existing household

Case Update

  • New cases – 2
  • Active cases – 17  (16 confirmed, 1 probable)
  • 403 tests across Nelson Marlborough on Wednesday.
  • 2423 total vaccinations across Nelson Marlborough with 1909 boosters and 378 paediatric doses on Wednesday.

A further two household contacts of existing confirmed Nelson Tasman cases, have tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total active cases across the region to 17 (16 confirmed and 1 probable).

Dr Stephen Bridgman, Medical Officer of Health said: “In this ‘stamp it out’ phase all cases are confirmed with a positive PCR test as this is the most accurate method. Rapid antigen tests become important in the ‘flatten the curve’ and ‘manage it’ phases as case numbers escalate and the public health response adjusts accordingly.

"During this ‘stamp it out’ phase we are asking close contacts to quarantine for 10 days. This allows for immediate testing and further testing at days five and eight, or earlier if symptomatic. Casual contacts, people who have been at a location of interest during the date and time specified, are directed to monitor symptoms. If they become symptomatic they need to get a test and isolate immediately until a negative test result is received.

"This ‘stamping it out’ phase aims to gift us time. Time for people in our community to become vaccinated and develop a household plan for when Omicron cases peak. This will help us reduce the number of people who experience serious illness, hospitalisation and death.”

Lexie O’Shea, Chief Executive, Nelson Marlborough Health commended the government for their phased Public Health response to Omicron:

“I know it has been said before but we really do live in unprecedented times. For the government to be able to have a national plan for a variant of COVID-19 that didn’t even exist two months ago and demonstrates the amazing agility and resilience of our Public Health teams.

"The Nelson Marlborough health system will be working at pace to operationalise these measures and align internal policies to the expected phases. The next few months are going to be bumpy and we are forever grateful to the Nelson Marlborough community for supporting us by getting vaccinated, getting tested and being kind to our frontline staff. 

"In Nelson Marlborough we are actively seeking to stamp out Omicron. We are now six days on from the first case announcement and are encouraged to see people with symptoms continuing to come forward for testing. Yesterday 403 tests were taken with over 2000 now completed across Nelson Marlborough since Friday. This expanded testing capacity is a good example of how our local health system, mobilised by Nelson Bays Primary Health Organisation and general practices, can rally.


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Two new cases in Nelson Tasman

Case update

  • New cases – 2*
  • Active cases – 15 (14 confirmed, 1 probable)

Case investigations are underway for a further two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nelson Tasman. The cases are being treated as suspected Omicron with investigations looking to understand possible links to other cases and exposure events. There are now a total of 15 active cases (14 confirmed and 1 probable) in the region, across three households.

Dr Stephen Bridgman, Medical Officer of Health said: “We are very grateful to the household for coming forward for testing. It is never easy finding out you are a positive case. People are concerned not only for their own health but worry about any exposure to their families and communities.

"The recent announcement on mask wearing will mean people are better able to protect themselves and reduce the risk of infection to others. We know that Omicron is an airborne virus and that we can be infectious before we develop symptoms. Make sure your mask is designed to cover the nose and mouth to ensure the greatest protection.”

Dr Bridgman explains that where cases are isolating is not as important as where cases have been while infectious.

“Widespread testing of people with symptoms across Nelson Marlborough is needed in order to determine if there is undetected transmission in the community. 

"So far we are have seen a good response for testing from the community. An additional 432 tests yesterday brings the total of tests to 1,722 since Friday when the cases were announced. We would like to see these numbers continue across the week as new locations of interest are identified.”

*Due to data reporting cut-off times, the number of cases reported by Nelson Marlborough Health may differ to what the Ministry of Health has reported.

Testing and vaccination

  • 432 tests across Nelson Marlborough on Tuesday.
  • 2957 total vaccinations across Nelson Marlborough with 2260 adult and 533 paediatric doses on Tuesday.

Lexie O’Shea, Chief Executive, Nelson Marlborough Health said: “Nelson Marlborough has now reached 90% partially vaccinated and 85% fully vaccinated for Māori.

"Meeting this milestone has been a collective effort, with the vaccination programme including Iwi and Marae, Te Piki Oranga, Primary Health Organisations, Pharmacies, general practices, and more. We would like to thank our partners for helping us to ensure our community is as protected and prepared as possible.

"With Omicron cases in our community we would encourage all those who are eligible to make an appointment or visit a walk in clinic as soon as possible.”

Click through to read the full news article.


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No new cases in Nelson Marlborough

Nelson Marlborough Health is not reporting any new cases today.*

Dr Stephen Bridgman, Medical Officer of Health says: "I’m pleased to see the number of tests reach 636 on Monday across Nelson Marlborough. I’m still concerned there may be undetected cases. Testing will give us the greatest chance of detecting any undetected cases and controlling the outbreak.

"I would like to thank both whānau for doing the right thing and coming forward for testing. I would also like to acknowledge their ongoing work with the public health team to help control the outbreak.

"We continue to announce new locations of interest on the Ministry of Health website alongside advice for close or casual contacts."

Case update

  • New cases – 0*
  • Active cases – 13  (12 confirmed, 1 probable)*

*Due to data reporting cut-off times, the number of cases reported by Nelson Marlborough Health today may differ to what the Ministry of Health has reported.


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Response to Omicron in Nelson Marlborough

Case update

  • New cases – 2 confirmed, 1 probable*
  • Active cases – 13*

There are two new cases of COVID-19 in Nelson Tasman today. While whole genomic sequencing is yet to confirm the variant, the cases attended events in Auckland and are reported as part of the January Omicron outbreak.

Dr Stephen Bridgman, Nelson Marlborough Health, Medical Officer of Health said: “The two new cases are from the same household, which is separate to the household previously reported where there are 10 active cases. A probable case within this new household has also been identified. This person has yet to return a positive test but has symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

*Due to data reporting cut-off times, the number of cases reported by Nelson Marlborough Health today may differ to what the Ministry of Health has reported.


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One new case and Omicron confirmed in Nelson Tasman

The Ministry of Health has confirmed one new case to report in the Nelson Tasman region. This person is a close contact of the existing nine cases and has been in quarantine during their infectious period.

Whole genome sequencing on the 9 cases reported over the past two days has confirmed it is the Omicron variant. The Air New Zealand crew member announced yesterday has also been confirmed as having the same Omicron variant.

Dr Stephen Bridgman, Nelson Marlborough Health, Medical Office of Health said, “While we have seen an increase in testing since the announcement with 205 tests on Friday and 172 on Saturday, we are interested in seeing these numbers grow.

We are concerned about possible undetected transmission in the community. It is important to have the right people getting tested. This means if you have no symptoms or have not been to a location of interest please don’t get tested.

We do expect the number of cases and therefore the locations of interest to grow. These will continue to be updated on the Ministry of Health website alongside advice.

The National strategy to Omicron at this stage remains to slow down spread through testing, contact tracing, and isolation. Public health measures such as mask wearing, social distancing and hand-washing are key to reducing the risk of infection.

These combined measures allow as much time as possible for people to receive their vaccinations and booster vaccinations. Vaccination has a huge effect on reducing the likelihood of hospitalisation and serious disease. It also reduces transmission of the virus. People are strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated and to have a booster when eligible.

On Friday and Saturday we had 1585 vaccinations occur across Nelson Marlborough. The Nelson and Richmond vaccination sites have increased hours to 8pm to allow for the anticipated increase in demand.”

Eric Sinclair, Health Controller for Nelson Marlborough Health confirmed health services will continue to operate as usual under the red traffic light system.


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COVID-19 cases confirmed in Nelson Tasman

The Ministry of Health has confirmed nine new cases in the Nelson Tasman region. All of the cases live in the same household. Testing is yet to determine the variant and genomic link.

Eight of these cases were notified after the Ministry’s reporting deadline, and will be added to the official tally tomorrow.

Public health officials are investigating recent travel to Auckland as the possible source of their infections. Case interviews are underway and locations of interest will be added to the Ministry’s webpage where contacts at exposure events cannot be identified.

Dr Alexandra Greig, Nelson Marlborough Medical Officer of Health said, “We would like to thank the cases for their prompt action in coming forward for testing. This has allowed for a swift public health response.”

“It is a timely reminder for anyone with symptoms, no matter how mild, to get tested.”

Everyone in New Zealand aged 5 years and over is eligible for free COVID-19 vaccination. Those over 18 who are fully vaccinated can also book their free booster.

“Scientific evidence shows that vaccination has a huge effect in reducing the chance that somebody infected with COVID-19 will have a severe illness and reduces the risk of transmission in the community.”


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Nelson Marlborough District Health Board Meeting Tuesday 25 January 2022

Members of the public are welcome to attend the following Nelson Marlborough District Health Board meeting to be held Tuesday 25 January 2022 at 12.30pm, Seminar Centre Room 1, Braemar Campus, Nelson Hospital.


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COVID-19 vaccination open for tamariki aged 5-11 years, booster rollout continues

Our vaccine rollout remains our key defence against all variants of COVID-19, including Omicron.

If you are eligible to be vaccinated but haven't yet taken up the opportunity, please do so that you, your whānau and your community are well protected against COVID-19. 

Child vaccine

The child (paediatric) Pfizer vaccine is now available for 5–11 year-olds at vaccination sites across the Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough region.

Walk-ins are available at some sites but parents are advised to book an appointment where possible via BookMyVaccine.nz or by calling the COVID-19 Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26.

A full list of vaccination sites providing the child vaccine can be found on HealthPoint here. The number of sites will increase over the coming weeks. 

Boosters

People over the age of 18 who had their second dose at least four months ago, are now eligible for their booster shot.

Walk-in to one of our main vaccination centres or pop-up vaccination clinics. You can also book an appointment via the BookMyVaccine.nz website or by calling the COVID-19 Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 at a time and location that suits you.

More information

For more information on the vaccine rollout in Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough, see Our COVID-19 vaccination programme page.


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