An MIQ worker has tested positive for Covid-19 amid 29 new community cases.
The Auckland-based MIQ worker returned a positive result for Covid-19 late yesterday afternoon and is currently in isolation, the Ministry of Health said.
The test was taken as part of routine border worker surveillance testing. The Herald understands the person worked at the Stamford Plaza Hotel.
Investigations are underway to determine if the infection originated from the community or the facility, the ministry said. The worker is fully vaccinated and up-to-date with regular testing. Household contacts all returned negative tests last night.
Whole-genome sequencing is being carried out to determine what variant the infection is and the results will be reported tomorrow.
The minstry said there were 29 new community cases and 25 cases at the border.
"New Zealand continues to see many border cases arriving from overseas, reflecting the growing number of Omicron cases globally," the ministry said.
It comes as the total Covid cases detected at the border is now often more than double the new Delta community cases, leading top officials to predict an Omicron outbreak is expected within two weeks.
Ministry of Health data shows the majority of cases popping up at the border are the highly contagious Omicron variant, with 266 cases detected in MIQ since December 1.
More than 18,000 people have arrived in New Zealand during that period.
The vaccine remains New Zealand's key defence against all variants of Covid-19, including Omicron, the Ministry of Health said.
On Monday, the vaccine will be available for 5- to 11-year-olds to get protected against Covid-19.
"We encourage all parents with children in this age group to take them to get vaccinated. A full list of vaccination centres can be found on the Healthpoint website," said the ministry.
Of today's 29 new cases, 11 are in Auckland. There are also 14 cases in the Lakes District Health Board region, with all cases in Rotorua.
Eleven of these are linked to people previously known to have contracted Covid. Investigations are underway to determine any links for the unlinked cases.
There is one new case in the Western Bay of Plenty, with the person linked to a previously known case, and one new case in Wellington City with that person also linked to an existing case.
The Wellington case is a household contact of a previously reported case and was already isolating when they tested positive.
A further two new cases have been reported in Kaikohe in Northland. They are from the same household and are in isolation. Investigations are underway to determine how they are linked to the current outbreak. There are currently four active cases in Northland.
There are 29 people in hospital with Covid-19 - two of those in ICU in Middlemore and Tauranga.
Of the other cases, five are in North Shore, eight in Auckland, 12 in Middlemore and four in Tauranga. The average age of those in hospital is 47.
Of those in the Northern Region hospitals, seven cases or 29.2 per cent are considered partially immunised where it is less than seven days since their second dose, while another eight cases or 33.3 per cent have had one dose only.
Another eight cases or 33.3 per cent had been fully vaccinated, while the vaccination status of one case is unknown.
A ministry spokesperson told the Herald on Thursday that international evidence indicated that if Omicron slipped through MIQ, it would spread rapidly in the New Zealand community.
That could lead to it becoming more common than Delta in just one fortnight.
Despite the risk of its imminent arrival, 55 per cent of Kiwis eligible to get their booster shot are yet to receive it, the ministry said.
While Omicron appeared to be less detrimental to a person's health than Delta, a ministry spokesperson said limiting demand on intensive care and ward beds, ventilators and health staff would be key in New Zealand's response.