Health officials are asking Bay residents to mask up this long weekend to slow the spread of Omicron, with cases "almost certainly" circulating unidentified.
There were eight new Omicron cases in the Bay of Plenty District Health Board area today all linked to the early childhood centre BestStart Pyes Pa. A ninth case was under investigation.
The daycare cases included three first announced yesterday but officially counted in today's figures.
And suspected Omicron cases attended Polo in the Bay held at Trustpower Baypark stadium between 1pm and 6.15pm on January 22.
The event was attended by a large number of people, with those who visited the Polo Lounge bar during those times being considered close contacts and being asked to self-isolate and get tested immediately. The same advice applied to those who visited the Good George gin caravan between 2pm and 4.30pm.
Anyone who was at the stadium at these times but not the bar is a casual contact and needs to self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms for 10 days after they were exposed. If symptoms develop, get a test and stay at home until you get a negative test result.
A ninth case in the Western Bay of Plenty remains under investigation for links to previously reported cases. The variant is not known.
New Rotorua cases
There are seven new Covid-19 cases in the Lakes DHB today, all in Rotorua. These have not been listed as Omicron cases.
All seven are contacts of previously reported cases and are isolating at home or in managed accommodation.
McDonald's Rotorua was today listed as a location of interest for Saturday from 2.15pm to 3.30pm.
There are 105 cases in New Zealand with four in hospital, including one in ICU or HDU in Rotorua Hospital.
Unidentified cases 'almost certainly' circulating
The Bay of Plenty District Health Board is urging residents to mask up and follow public health rules this long weekend to slow Omicron's spread.
Trevor Richardson, incident controller of the DHB's emergency operations centre, asked people to behave as though they could be exposed to the variant while in public.
"We must all be mindful that there are almost certainly some cases of Omicron circulating in our community that have not yet been identified," he said.
"We can expect the number of cases and contacts to grow given the highly transmissible nature of Omicron.
"Complying with public health measures will help slow the spread."
This meant wearing a mask in indoor settings with people you don't know, physical distancing, and scanning in.
Anyone with any cold or flu symptoms should get a test and isolate at home until a negative result is returned.
The most common early symptoms of the Omicron variant are a sore or scratchy throat, and a runny nose.
People can check the most recent locations of interest on the Health.govt.nz website. Testing locations can be found at Healthpoint NZ, and booster shots can be booked on the Bookmyvaccine website.
Polo event 'super spacious' - attendee
A young Tauranga woman, who spoke on the condition she wasn't named due to the nature of her job, found out about the polo event being a location of interest at 1.30pm today.
She was not at the event bar, which is a high-risk location of interest, and said the event was big and "super spacious" in an open area.
She said most people were standing drinking or lying on beanbags.
She said she did not have any symptoms.
"It never crossed my mind to not go, we have to move on with our lives and enjoy the days we can without living in a shoe box."
She said it was a "super fun" day and great for mental health to be able to get out a socialise.
Tauranga, gym and KFC locations of interest
A KFC restaurant and a gym in the city were yesterday also named high-risk locations of interest for Omicron.
KFC Cameron Rd has been linked to a probable Omicron case and the CityFitness Fraser Cove was linked to a suspected Omicron case.
The KFC case was at the store on Thursday last week between 5pm and 10.16pm. A sign on the door yesterday said it was temporarily closed. The business was approached for comment.
CityFitness had an exposure window Tuesday between 10am and noon and the previous day, January 24 between 10am and noon.
Child at Rotorua daycare tests positive
A Rotorua daycare hopes to reopen next week after a Covid-19 scare.
BestStart deputy chief executive Fiona Hughes confirmed a child who attended the Pukuatua St daycare had tested positive for Covid and the centre had been closed since Monday.
"The child was infectious from the 17th to the 19th and there are 90 children there and 20 staff," Hughes said.