Coronavirus: 1000 Omicron cases a day in New Zealand expected by next week - COVID-19 modeller

The big leap in Omicron cases we've been warned about has arrived; there were 446 new community cases on Friday - 140 up on Thursday's 306.

Most of them again are in Auckland (340), which continues to be the epicentre of the Omicron outbreak. On Thursday the Southern DHB reported its first case this outbreak and on Friday that number grew to three.

Northland has become the last DHB to pass the 90 percent target for first doses, and 87 percent of its eligible population has had a second dose.

Dunedin is one of the few corners of the country and indeed the world to have largely escaped COVID-19, until now.

"It was inevitable in the current Omicron environment that our run of luck would run out. It's the first positive case we've had here in Dunedin since May of 2020," said Mayor Aaron Hawkins.

The case is currently isolating in Dunedin, but they travelled to Wanaka and Cromwell while infectious. Anyone with a scratchy throat or runny nose was urged to get a test - and they did.

"Testing has certainly increased; we've had 75 in the first two hours, which is a lot greater than we've usually had in a week," said Andrew Swanson-Dobbs, CEO WellSouth Primary Health Network.

The Mayor had another request: to support businesses, if you can.

"We're not in lockdown; businesses are still open," he said. 

It follows two cases confirmed in Queenstown on Thursday, the growing number of locations of interest an indicator of a likely growing number of infections.

There were 446 new cases across the country on Friday. University of Auckland modeller Dion O'Neale says we're playing catch-up after slow testing numbers over the long Weekend.

"We're clearing the backlog of the people who didn't get tested over Waitangi weekend, and so those tests take a while to come through and we're going to see an extra little bump probably on account of that," he said.

He says next week we're likely to hit our first 1000 daily cases.

"It's expected, we shouldn't be alarmed about it. We should be worried that numbers are going up because that's a signal that we need to change our behaviour if we want them to not go up faster."

The South Island is now getting used to the presence of Omicron like the rest of the country.