The Ministry of Health has confirmed the suspected Omicron case in Palmerston North is an Omicron case.
First reported yesterday as a Covid case that had recently been in MIQ at the same time as other Omicron cases, the infection was treated as such while genomic sequencing was underway.
At 1pm, the Ministry of Health's locations of interest page was updated to state that the locations are "linked to an Omicron case", and today's update states whole genome sequencing has confirmed the case is the Omicron variant.
The person was in a Christchurch MIQ facility and had tested negative five times, before being released on Sunday (January 16).
The case then returned a positive Covid-19 test result after becoming symptomatic yesterday. They are believed to have been infectious since Monday (January 17).
The Ministry of Health said genomic sequencing had identified similarities to border cases in Auckland but no direct links.
"It has not identified any links to cases in the Christchurch MIQ facility, suggesting that the source of infection is offshore – either in the country they travelled from or during travel to New Zealand - rather than transmission in the Christchurch MIQ facility where they stayed."
The ministry said the person had travelled on flight NZ550 from Christchurch to Auckland departing at 2pm, before travelling on NZ5121 from Auckland to Palmerston North departing at 4.55pm.
While the case was not considered infectious at this time, they have asked people on those flights to get a test as a precautionary measure.
Palmerston North deputy mayor Aleisha Rutherford said the Omicron case would not come as a surprise to the local community.
"We have essentially been waiting for this to happen, we've always known it's not a case of whether it will happen but when.
"We are well prepared, we've got a strong and connected community. I've got every confidence that our community will support each other as required."
Rutherford encouraged people to check official updates, follow the MidCentral DHB Facebook page, scan in, and get tested.
She also thanked essential workers for their continued work and reminded members of the public to be kind when interacting with them.
All previously published locations of interest for this case are now considered to be high risk, and anyone who has been exposed is asked to follow the advice on the ministry website.
• Jan 17 (Mon) 3pm-3.10pm: Amare Safety Palmerston North.
• Jan 17 (Mon) 3.10pm-3.28pm: Steelmasters Palmerston North.
• Jan 17 (Mon) 3.15pm-3.30pm: ANZA Motor Company Palmerston North.
• Jan 17 (Mon) 3.55pm-4.35pm: Repco Tremaine Ave Palmerston North.
• Jan 17 (Mon) 4.54pm-5.05pm: Bunnings Warehouse Palmerston North.
• Jan 18 (Tue) 10.20am-10.30am: Repco Tremaine Ave Palmerston North.
• Jan 18 (Tue) 10.30am-10.48am: Bunnings Warehouse Palmerston North.
• Jan 18 (Tue) 11am-12.30pm: New World Broadway Palmerston North.
• Jan 18 (Tue) 2.15pm-2.30pm: eSANZ Milson.
• Jan 19 (Wed) 10.40am-11am: Cafe 116 Terrace End. High risk
• Jan 19 (Wed) 11.07am-11.12am: Manawatu Locksmith Palmerston North.
• Jan 19 (Wed) 11.15am-11.45am: Postie Palmerston North.
• Jan 19 (Wed) 11.45am-11.50am: Amare Safety Palmerston North.
• Jan 19 (Wed) 11.59am-12.04am: Steelmasters Palmerston North.
• Jan 19 (Wed) 12.05pm-12.15pm: Anzor Fasteners Palmerston North.
• Jan 19 (Wed) 12pm-12.15pm: Anza Motor Company Palmerston North.
• Jan 19 (Wed) 1.55pm-2.05pm: Repco Tremaine Ave Palmerston North.
• Jan 19 (Wed) 2.15pm-2.30pm: eSANZ Milson.
Earlier today MidCentral DHB confirmed there had been no new cases of Covid-19 in the region overnight.
However, an additional location of interest was reported this morning. Anyone who was at New World Broadway in Palmerston North between 11am and 12.30pm on Tuesday has been asked to isolate.
Wastewater testing was carried out yesterday in Feilding and Palmerston North, and the Central Coordination Hub had been stood up to ensure adequate testing capacity and support for people isolating at home.
"We have the capacity to establish pop-up testing sites and to extend the hours at our central testing site at 575 Main Street, Palmerston North," Davies said.
"Surge plans are ready to be activated if we need to immediately stand up further testing or vaccination sites."
Yesterday 297 tests were processed in the MidCentral rohe, but authorities expect to see an increase in demand after the listing of locations of interest yesterday.
Davies advised Covid-19 tests were available at the drive-through Community Testing Site at 575 Main St, Palmerston North from 8.30am to 4pm today, and may be available at select GPs for people with symptoms.
The Midcentral region is 93 per cent fully vaccinated, with 87 per cent Māori and 95 per cent Pasifika population fully vaccinated.
"Palmerston North has 99 per cent of the eligible population fully vaccinated, while Manawatū is sitting at 96 per cent," Davies said.
Multiple locations of interest and exposure events were listed on the Ministry of Health website yesterday – including an unnamed early childhood centre.
A spokesperson from MidCentral DHB said the childcare centre would not be listed as a location of interest, as all close and casual contacts had been identified and contacted directly.