Covid-19 Local Government Response Unit Update – Monday 17 January 2022

 Local Government Response Unit main page

Positive Omicron test

You will have seen in the media over the weekend that a MIQ worker tested positive for the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. To date a number of close contacts have been identified and those tested have returned a negative test result for COVID-19 they are currently isolating. Public Health are in the process of identifying and contacting all known close contacts and ensuring they also isolate and get tested.  

Omicron and Business Continuity Planning

Omicron has emerged as the dominant COVID-19 variant around the world. The majority of cases detected at the border are omicron cases.  

This has seen less severe clinical outcomes, but significantly higher rates of transmission.  Given the higher rates of transmission, it is expected that if Omicron makes it into the community, we expect to see case numbers double every 2-3 days. This is consistent with international trends.

Many people will be affected and workplaces will have high levels of staff on sick leave or isolation (as high as 25%). This means that council Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) are critical should an outbreak of Omicron occur in the community. This will be the subject of discussion in the Webinar for CEOS on Wednesday.

Central government agencies are considering a range of options including additional protection in the event of an Omicron outbreak. We anticipate that these can be implemented within the existing framework.

Continued messaging on vaccine boosters

If your second dose of the COVID-19  Pfizer vaccine was four to six months ago, you are encouraged to get your booster vaccine. The booster when added to the two vaccines offers greater protection against the transmission of COVID-19 including the Delta and Omicron strains of the virus for yourself, whānau and wider community

You can get your booster at walk in vaccination sites or book an appointment by phoning the COVID Vaccination Healthline 0800 28 29 26 (8am – 8pm, seven days a week. You can also book online at Anyone who is eligible for a third primary dose can access a booster four months after receiving their third primary dose.

More than 82 Percent of vaccinated New Zealanders will be eligible for a booster by the end of February 2022.

The booster for Astrazenica is also available for those who have received their second dose at least four months ago. The AstraZenica booster requires a prescription from either the vaccinating AstraZenica clinic or prior to your appointment from your preferred GP. Both visits to the GP and a prescription for the AstraZenica booster are free.

Pregnant people aged 18 and above who have received their second vaccine at least four months ago are able to receive the booster at any time during their pregnancy. These people are encouraged to discuss the timing of their booster with their midwife, obstetrician, or general practitioner.

Vaccination of Tamariki aged 5 – 11

Today marks the start of the roll out of the vaccine programme for tamariki aged 5 – 11. Parents and care givers now have the opportunity to protect their tamariki against COVID-19. Tamariki will receive the Pfizer COVID-19 children’s vaccine. It has the same active ingredients as the vaccine given to adults, but is a smaller dosage.

Immunising these tamariki helps protect whānau whose health makes them vulnerable to COVID-19. The virus is unpredictable and while it generally has milder effects in children, with symptoms similar to a cold, some tamariki become severely ill and require hospitalisation. Tamariki can also have rare complications from the virus such as multisystem inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) that may require intensive care. Tamariki can also suffer long-term effects of the virus (Long COVID) even after mild cases of the virus.

Like adults, if your tamariki are infected with COVID-19 they may transmit it to other people.

Tamariki need two doses of the vaccine to be fully vaccinated and these are recommended to be at least eight weeks apart. This can be shortened to a minimum of 21 days if needed, for example is your child is starting significant immunosuppression treatment.

The Ministry of Health is working with DHBs, and community organisations to roll out the Pfizer vaccine to children in ways that suit whānau and communities. Parents or caregivers can go  to walk in clinics with tamariki. You can also use to get immunised through your usual health provider, hauora, or GP. Make sure you select the appropriate age range. If you want to book for more than one child or are unable to book online, call the COVID vaccine hotline 0800 28 29 26 (8am – 8 pm 7 days a week).

In Aotearoa, New Zealand all vaccinations are free to tamariki under 12 years old. Some immunisation clinics may also offer other childhood immunisations such as MMR. It is okay to receive several vaccines at the same time.

The Ministry of Health has provided advice for preparing tamariki for vaccination

  1. Provide encouragement to help your tamariki feel relaxed
  2. Make sure they have had something to eat and drink
  3. Check they’re wearing clothes that make it easy to see and access their upper arm.

If they’re a little nervous, they’re welcome to take something to the appointment that will distract them, like a soft toy or phone. If your tamariki have had previous reactions to immunisations, let your vaccinator know, speak to your whānau doctor prior to the appointment, or talk to a trained advisor on the COVID Vaccination Healthline - 0800 28 29 26.

Traffic light settings

The COVID-19 traffic light settings are due to be reviewed this week, currently all of New Zealand except for Northland is in the Orange setting

Help your workforce stay safe from COVID-19 over summer

The Ministry of Health has published guidance and to help you prevent or minimise the spread of COVID-19 during what can be a busy social period.

Help keep your people safe and well by sharing COVID-19 key summer health messages through your normal communications with your community.

Download key messages for summer or read more at Ministry of Health | Health guidance for summer

Information on current cases, COVID-19 test sites and economic support       

There are 16 cases in the community today. Of these seven are in Auckland, six in the Lakes District, one each in Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, and West Coast  

Available testing sites can be found on the Ministry of Health website: Available testing sites.

Locations of interest can be found at Locations of Interest . This is being updated as soon as information is available.

Economic assistance is available for those impacted by the lockdown, more information available on the COVID-19 website , including details of the Business Boost package.