There are 1929 cases of Covid-19 in the community today - a new record.
The majority of today's community cases - 1384 - are in Auckland.
Others are in Northland (13), Waikato (155), Bay of Plenty (58), Lakes (9), Hawke's Bay (17), MidCentral (3), Whanganui (11), Taranaki (9), Tairāwhiti (8), Wairarapa (5), Capital and Coast (28), Hutt Valley (50), Nelson Marlborough (60), Canterbury (35), South Canterbury (7), and the Southern region (77).
There are now 9874 active community cases in New Zealand in total, the Ministry of Health said in a statement this afternoon.
Seventy-three people are in hospital with the virus - one in ICU or HDU. They are in North Shore, Middlemore, Auckland, Rotorua, Tauranga, Waikato, Wellington, Tairāwhiti and MidCentral hospitals.
The average age of hospital patients with Covid-19 is 57.
The Ministry of Health provided the vaccination status of those in Auckland and Northern hospitals. Of the 73 people hospitalised with the virus, this included 54 people.
Two patients' vaccination statuses weren't known. The remaining cases' statuses are:
• Unvaccinated or not eligible: 8 cases / 14.9 per cent.
• Partially immunised <7 days from second dose or have only received one dose: 2 cases / 3.7 per cent.
• Fully vaccinated at least 7 days before being reported as a case: 42 cases / 77.8 per cent.
Eighteen new Covid cases have also been detected at the border.
Test result delays in Auckland
The Ministry of Health has told Aucklanders to expect delays in getting their test results following high demand at Covid-19 testing sites.
Those in Auckland seeking results are asked not to call Healthline as the service is not able to provide that information.
"We are continuing to experience high demand at Covid-19 testing sites, including from asymptomatic people who are seeking tests for their own reassurance," the ministry said.
"It's very important that you only get tested if you have cold or flu symptoms, have been identified as a close contact of a case, or have been asked to get tested by a health official.
"Unnecessary testing is resulting in long waits at testing centres and could also delay results for those who urgently need them."
While some results were being returned in 48 hours, others were taking longer and the ministry reminded people they were required to stay home until they had received a negative result.
The ministry said those who did test positive would receive a text with a link to a digital contact tracing form to complete as part of their case investigation.
They would also receive information regarding self-isolation, as well as other general advice for cases.
"In Phase 2 of the Omicron response, we are using digital tools to ensure that health resources focus on managing vulnerable cases and high-risk exposure events."
Most cases could isolate at home safely and complete the digital contact tracing form to notify close contacts, without having to talk to health staff.
And in most instances, people who had tested positive would not receive a phone call unless health officials needed further information.
"We are asking people to please be patient as contact tracing teams may not be in contact immediately, and it could take a few days before they are able to speak with you."
In the meantime, cases should follow the advice provided in the text message.
Latest on testing, vaccines, boosters
In the past 24 hours, 32,894 Covid-19 tests have been processed. The rolling average for tests for the past seven days is 25,567.
There are 7.5 million rapid antigen tests available in New Zealand.
Across Big Boost week, the ministry's nationwide initiative to encourage people to get their third shot, nearly 370,000 booster doses were administered.
The total number of people boosted exceeds two million.
"The Ministry of Health would like to thank everyone who has gone out to get a booster dose, and staff at vaccine clinics who have worked tirelessly to help protect New Zealand against Covid-19."
The seven-day rolling average for border cases is 12 while for community cases, the average is 1051.
The ministry said getting the booster dose greatly reduced a person's chances of getting severely ill and requiring hospital care if they tested positive for Covid-19.
"If it's been three months since your last dose, please book your booster today."
Yesterday, 35,903 booster doses were administered across the motu.
The Ministry of Health is now reporting the percentage of the eligible population who have received a booster by DHB region.
These booster figures by DHB region are:
• Northland DHB: 65%
• Auckland Metro DHBs: 61%
• Waikato DHB: 62%
• Bay of Plenty DHB: 63%
• Lakes DHB: 64%
• MidCentral DHB: 68%
• Tairāwhiti DHB: 65%
• Whanganui DHB: 69%
• Hawke's Bay: 66%
• Taranaki DHB: 62%
• Wairarapa DHB: 71%
• Capital and Coast DHB: 70%
• Hutt Valley DHB: 68%
• Nelson Marlborough DHB: 72%
• West Coast DHB: 69%
• Canterbury DHB: 65%
• South Canterbury DHB: 70%
• Southern DHB: 70%
Overall, 96 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 and older have had one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, 95 per cent have received two, and 62 per cent of those due it have received their booster dose.
The Ministry of Health said more than 90 per cent of Māori aged 12 years and over in the MidCentral DHB region had been fully vaccinated.
The DHB is the fifth in Aotearoa to achieve this milestone.
Yesterday, 2274 first doses, 1396 second doses and 1791 paediatric doses were administered.
For eligible Māori, aged 12 and older, 91 per cent have received their first dose and 87 per cent have received two doses.
For eligible Pacific peoples aged 12 and older, 98 per cent have received one dose and 95 per cent have received their second dose.
Overall, 46 per cent of eligible 5 to 11-year-old children have had their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine.
For eligible Māori children in this age group, 27 per cent have received their first dose - and for eligible Pacific children, 37 per cent have had one dose.
1573 community cases yesterday
Yesterday, there were 1573 community cases of the virus, the majority (1140) of them in Auckland.
The remaining cases were in Northland (31), Waikato (143), Bay of Plenty (29), Lakes (35), Hawke's Bay (2), MidCentral (3), Whanganui (11), Taranaki (8), Tairāwhiti (8), Wairarapa (30), Capital and Coast (20), Hutt Valley (22), Nelson Marlborough (49), Canterbury (7) and the Southern (35).
As well as the new record number of cases yesterday, 63 people - with an average age of 62 - were in hospital with Covid-19, but none were in intensive care. They are in hospitals in Auckland, Rotorua, Tauranga, Waikato, Wellington and Tairāwhiti.
Since January 22, when the first Omicron case was detected in the community, double-vaccinated cases have been 10 times less likely to require hospitalisation than unvaccinated cases, a Ministry of Health statement yesterday said.
"Four per cent of unvaccinated cases have required hospitalisation and 0.4 per cent of fully vaccinated cases have required hospitalisation."
Rapid antigen tests
Health Minister Andrew Little this morning said he accepted there had been confusion around whether teachers should be able to access rapid antigen tests (RATs).
Schools have been told they generally won't be part of an exemption scheme that lets some critical workers bypass close contact isolation requirements if they return daily negative RATs, although exceptions will be made if they don't have enough staff able to be on site to look after children who cannot learn from home.
The scheme does include some staff in boarding school hostels.
But Andrew Little said under the rules, teachers should have access to tests. He told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking he accepts the issue is creating lots of frustration and anxiety in schools.
Little said he's seen correspondence from teachers and teacher organisations, and the Government needed to take responsibility for not making things clear.
10,000 cases a day by early March
Meanwhile, University of Otago professor Michael Baker said the trend of rising case numbers was exactly what was expected and indicated the outbreak could peak in March.
"[It has been] three weeks since community transmission was really established in New Zealand and we saw that initial uptick in cases," Baker told the New Zealand Herald.
"The moving average of cases has not deviated from a steeply rising exponential curve where numbers are doubling maybe every five days roughly, give or take a day or two.
"If that trend continued from the current numbers, we could be hitting 10,000 cases a day by early March.
"That's why we will need all of the tools we have available just to try and dampen that rise in cases. We may do a bit better than that if all New Zealanders really do their best to get their boosters, to get tested and isolate, and to limit transmission by using masks indoors and limiting their social gatherings."
However, Baker said even if we did reach the 10,000 predicted cases, we may not actually see them because of a lack of testing capacity.
"We will need to think about other tools, [such as] much higher availability of rapid antigen tests," Baker said.
Certain locations such as hospitals could test people, as Middlemore is doing, as a way of detecting infections in the community.
Auckland was about two to three weeks ahead of the rest of the country in terms of case numbers, Baker said.
"It's going to mean that we will see at a national level a peak that actually includes peaking at different places at different times."