Hawke's Bay District Health Board says the Omicron variant may already be in the region and will be treating all unexpected new Covid cases as if they have it.
The DHB had no new Covid-19 cases to report on Monday but is urging people to keep checking locations of interest reported on the Ministry of Health's website.
Medical Officer of Health Dr Rachel Eyre said locations of interest were being added daily as public health officials continued their investigations, so it was important people kept up-to-date.
"People need to be vigilant and check both local locations as well as places where they've been holidaying over the last couple of weeks."
Local health officials are currently managing 13 active cases and their close contacts in Hawke's Bay.
Dr Eyre said all current cases were either confirmed as Delta or linked to known Delta cases.
"As a precaution, Hawke's Bay DHB's public health officials will treat all future cases not linked to the known clusters as the Omicron variant.
"It's only a matter of time before Omicron is circulating in our community – if not already – so we need to be fully prepared."
Dr Eyre reminded people with cold and flu-like symptoms, no matter how mild and even if they were vaccinated, to get tested.
Dr Eyre said vaccination was the best protection against Covid-19 and people eligible for their booster vaccination should get this done for an added layer of protection.
"People vaccinated against Covid-19 are far less likely to need hospital care if they get the virus."
At this stage, the DHB's visitor policy remains unchanged while the country is at red under the traffic light system. The DHB will revise its mask policy on advice from the Ministry of Health expected in the next few days.
Drive-in testing centres and booked appointments are available and include:
CHB Health Centre drive-through 9am-4pm
Tuesday January 25:
Totara Health drive-through, 10am-1pm
Splash planet Hastings drive-through, 10am-pm
CHB Health Centre drive-through, 9am-4pm
To book a test:
Hastings Health Centre, call 06 281 2644 between 8.30am and 5pm, Monday to Saturday, to book an appointment.
The Doctors Napier, call 0800 837 819 between 9am and 5pm daily to book an appointment.
Takapau Health Centre, call 06 855 8376 between 11:30am and 12pm, Monday to Wednesday and Friday to book an appointment.
Queen Street Practice Wairoa, for booked appointments call 06 838 8333 daily.