76 new cases – 47 in Auckland; 51 in hospital; 5 in ICU

Photo AHG NZ


December 17, 2021

Both Capital & Coast and Auckland DHBs are close to reaching 90% fully vaccinated for their eligible Māori populations.

For Auckland DHB, just 1339 of the eligible population need a second dose to reach the 90% milestone, while in the Capital & Coast DHB region, an additional 1480 vaccinations are needed to reach the mark.

Pacific people across 19 of our 20 DHBs are 90% partially vaccinated or higher – with Whanganui due to reach this milestone at any moment with just 57 doses to go. Pacific communities in eight of our DHBs are also now fully vaccinated.

Four of our smaller DHBs are also fast closing in on 90% fully vaccinated – with Wairarapa DHB needing just 157 more doses, South Canterbury 516 doses, MidCentral 778 doses, and Nelson-Marlborough 1,183 doses to hit the milestone.

Omicron close contacts update

Yesterday we reported New Zealand’s first case of the Omicron variant in a recent international arrival who tested positive in a day 0/1 test at a Christchurch managed isolation facility.

All of the passengers on the same ​international and domestic flights as the case are being treated as close contacts, and all are isolating in a managed isolation facility.

Two other passengers on the international flight have tested positive for Covid-19 and one further passenger’s positive result is being investigated as a historical infection. These three people have been moved to a managed quarantine facility. Whole genome sequencing has identified one of these infections as the Delta variant.

Whole genome sequencing for the other two is due later today.

All other passengers have returned negative day 0/1 and day 3 tests.

Urgent whole genome sequencing is being carried out on all positive test results in recent returnees to determine if they have the Omicron variant.

While the arrival of a new variant is concerning, New Zealand is well placed to manage Omicron cases with isolation and testing requirements for all new arrivals, robust infection and prevention control and PPE measures at airports and MIQ facilities, and frequent surveillance testing of staff who have any contact with recent returnees.

Covid-19 vaccine update

  • Vaccines administered to date (percentage of eligible people): 3,959,739 first doses (94%); 3,783,760 second doses (90%); 23,498 third primary doses; 194,770 booster doses
  • Vaccines administered yesterday: 2434 first doses; 8294 second doses; 726 third primary doses and 10,018 booster doses.
  • Māori (percentage of eligible people): 494,570 first doses (87%); 438,099 second doses (77%)
  • Pacific Peoples (percentage of eligible people): 267,805 first doses (93%); 250,690 second doses (87%)

Vaccination rates by DHB with active cases (percentage of eligible people)

  • Northland DHB: First doses (88%); second doses (82%)
  • Auckland Metro DHBs: First doses (95%); second doses (92%)
  • Waikato DHB: First doses (93%); second doses (88%)
  • Bay of Plenty DHB: First doses (93%); second doses (87%)
  • Lakes DHB: First doses (91%); second doses (85%)
  • Taranaki DHB: First doses (92%); second doses (87%)
  • Hawke’s Bay DHB: First doses (94%); second doses (88%)
  • Nelson-Marlborough DHB: First doses (94%); second doses (89%)
  • Canterbury DHB: First doses (97%); second doses (94%)


  • Cases in hospital: 51; North Shore: 7; Auckland: 26; Middlemore: 13; Waikato: 2; Tauranga: 2, Christchurch: 1
  • Vaccination status of current hospitalisations (Northern Region wards only): Unvaccinated or not eligible (26 cases / 51%); partially immunised <7 days from second dose or have only received one dose (8 cases / 16%); fully vaccinated at least 7 days before being reported as a case (9 cases/ 18%); unknown (8 cases / 16%)
  • Average age of current hospitalisations: 53
  • Cases in ICU or HDU: 5 (1 in North Shore; 2 in Auckland; 2 in Middlemore)


  • Seven day rolling average of community cases: 82
  • Number of new community cases: 76
  • Number of new cases identified at the border: 3
  • Location of new community cases: Auckland (47), Waikato (15), Bay of Plenty (10), Lakes (1), Taranaki (3).
  • Number of community cases (total): 10,129 (in current community outbreak)
  • Cases epidemiologically linked (total): 7457
  • Number of active cases (total): 2104 (cases identified in the past 21 days and not yet classed as recovered)
  • Confirmed cases (total): 12,947


  • Number of active contacts being managed (total): 6646
  • Percentage who have received an outbound call from contact tracers (to confirm testing and isolation requirements): 83%
  • Percentage who have returned at least one result: 78%


  • Number of tests total (last 24 hours): 22,896
  • Tests rolling average (last 7 days): 24,390
  • Auckland tests total (last 24 hours): 8352


The Covid-19 virus was detected in a wastewater sample taken in Napier on 15 December.

This could be due to recently recovered cases returning to the region who are shedding the virus, transient visitors, or it could signal undetected cases in the community.

There are no known Covid-19 cases self-isolating in Napier.

As a prudent measure, anyone in the Hawke’s Bay with Covid-19 symptoms – no matter how mild – is asked to please get tested, even if they are vaccinated. For testing centres available in the Hawke’s Bay today see the Healthpoint website.

NZ Covid Tracer

  • Poster scans in 24 hours to midday yesterday: 3,211,437
  • Manual diary entries in 24 hours to midday: 40,927

My Vaccine Pass

  • My vaccine pass downloads total: 4,335,640
  • My vaccine pass downloads (last 24 hours): 35,824

New cases identified at the border

Arrival date From Via Positive test day/reason Managed isolation/quarantine location
15 December United Kingdom Singapore Day 0 routine test Christchurch
15 December USA Direct Day 0 routine test Auckland
14 December Singapore Direct Day 1 routine Auckland

Today’s cases

Today, we are reporting new community cases in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Lakes and Taranaki.

Regional updates

We are continuing to ask anyone in New Zealand with symptoms – no matter how mild – to get tested, even if you’re vaccinated. Please stay at home until you return a negative test result.

Testing and vaccination centre locations nationwide can be found on the Healthpoint website.


Today, there are 47 new cases being reported in Auckland.

Health and welfare providers are now supporting 2064 people to isolate at home, including 538 cases.


There are 15 cases to report in Waikato today, with six in Hamilton and six in Te Kūiti. The locations of the three remaining cases are still under investigation.

There are two cases receiving care at Waikato Hospital.

One new location of interest was confirmed in Hamilton yesterday.

There are ten pop-up and dedicated testing sites operating throughout Waikato today with sites in Hamilton, Te Kūiti, Ngāruawāhia, Huntly, Taumarunui, Tokoroa, Putāruru and Ōtorohanga.

Health and welfare providers are supporting 68 cases to isolate at home.

Bay of Plenty

There are 10 cases to report in Bay of Plenty today. All are in the Tauranga area.

Of today’s cases, nine are linked to previously reported cases, and one is still being investigated for potential links.

Contacts are being identified and will be contacted for testing and isolation advice.


Today we are reporting one new case in the Lakes DHB region.

This case is in Rotorua and is a contact of a previously reported case. They are currently isolating.


Today we are reporting three new cases in Taranaki – two are linked to the Eltham cluster and the third is based in New Plymouth.

These cases were announced yesterday afternoon by the DHB.

Public health staff are interviewing the New Plymouth case to determine links to any previously reported cases.

Any potential close contacts will be followed up and if and when locations of interest are identified they will be added to the Ministry’s website.

Testing is available today at the following locations:

  • Taranaki Base Hospital testing centre from 9am – 3pm
  • Saliva testing at the Hāwera Hub from 2 – 6pm (run by Ngati Ruanui)

For testing information in Taranaki please visit TDHB – COVID-19 testing.

For vaccination information in Taranaki please visit TDHB – COVID-19 vaccine.

Media releases over the Christmas break

Over the Christmas break there will be regular Covid-19 updates published and tweeted each day apart from:

  • Saturday 25 December,
  • Saturday 1 January, and
  • Saturday 8 January.