A health expert is concerned over the disproportionately high numbers of Pacific people represented in the Omicron outbreak as overall case numbers surge over the 1000 mark.
Dr Collin Tukuitonga, associate professor at the University of Auckland, said yesterday's high case numbers were not a surprise but it was a "big concern" to see that Pacific people, especially in Auckland, were making up half of the cases reported.
Ministry of Health Pacific health director Gerardine Clifford-Lidstone told RNZ that they had seen quite a big increase in cases for Pacific peoples over the last few days.
"At the moment, about 50 per cent of the cases are Pacific people and mainly in the Auckland region."
Clifford-Lidstone said they had been preparing for Omicron and the impact on the Pacific community since early January once it was realised that it would have a significant impact.
"The risks for Pacific are always going to be very high, and this is mainly because we've got higher rates of comorbidities, so long-term conditions," Clifford-Lidstone said.
"We tend to have multi-generational and multi-family households, and we're likely to be in employment where there are essential worker roles and face barriers to accessing healthcare."
Tukuitonga said it was "fantastic" the first and second dose vaccination rates for Pacific peoples were in the high nineties and he hoped the booster dose rates would reach that threshold as well.
"One would hope with the added efforts that is going on in the community, the booster rates would get up into the high nineties as well because that would dampen down the spread somewhat. It won't eliminate it but it will dampen it down."
The practices required in phase 2 of the Omicron response plan - which came into effect on 11.59pm on Tuesday and emphasised "self-management" - could present challenges for some communities, Tukuitonga said.
"The specific concerns would be the housing situation is not ideal; small houses, large families, difficult to isolate under the circumstances.
"Pacific families have generally had issues accessing health services. There is clearly a need for explicit and simple information that people can understand what to do - for example if they have severe symptoms."
As of yesterday, 97 per cent of eligible Pacific peoples aged 12 and over had received one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, and 95 per cent had received two, while 37 per cent of eligible Pacific children, aged 5-11, had been given their first dose.
There were 1160 community cases of Covid-19 reported yesterday - up from 744 the day before.
University of Otago's professor Michael Baker said for some people the high number may come as a shock and could take some adjusting to but it was entirely expected and we were well prepared.
"It's important for people not to get overly worried about [the] high number because we have a lot more tools to protect ourselves and our whānau and communities than we did before."
The big message to New Zealand was to get boosted, Baker said, and to take extra precautions if you were vulnerable.
"While it looks like a big number, it is expected and this is what the Omicron wave will look like in New Zealand for the next few weeks with increasing numbers and then plateauing and then numbers declining again."
Baker said the numbers were low by world standards and that's because New Zealand had managed the pandemic so well.
On Tuesday, 46,156 booster doses were administered across the motu and as of Wednesday, 62 per cent of those due their booster dose had received it.
Fifty six people were in hospital with Covid-19 yesterday, with the average age of 65.
Most of yesterday's Covid-19 community cases were in Auckland - 861. The remaining were across Northland (24), Waikato (73), Bay of Plenty (33), Lakes (5), Hawke's Bay (15), MidCentral (3), Whanganui (4), Taranaki (9), Tairāwhiti (9), Wairarapa (5), Capital and Coast (32), Hutt Valley (20), Nelson Marlborough (15), Canterbury (8), South Canterbury (3) and the Southern region (39).
The location of two of the community cases was unknown as of yesterday's Ministry of Health Covid-19 update.
Meanwhile, there has also been an outbreak of the virus at Starship children's hospital, with 12 positive cases confirmed so far - six staff and six patients.
The hospital told the Herald that the outbreak likely stemmed from a positive case in the general paediatrics ward last week.
Auckland DHB director of provider services Dr Mike Shepherd said staff had immediately activated plans to prevent the further spread of the virus in the hospital and was rapidly testing staff and patients on the ward.
Overall, 46 per cent of eligible children aged 5-11 had received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine as of yesterday.
There were 43 Covid-19 cases detected at the border yesterday. While the full travel history of 21 of these cases was not known at the time of the update, the remaining cases had arrived from India (9), Japan (1), Malaysia (1), Pakistan (2), UAE (5), UK (2) and the USA (2).