Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: 20 deaths and 14,000 new cases

There are 14,175 new community cases of Covid-19 and 20 people have died with the virus, the Ministry of Health says.

The latest numbers take the virus’ toll to 254 since the pandemic began two years ago, and the seven-day rolling average of reported deaths to 13.

Of those who died, one was in their 40s, one in their 50s, three in their 60s, five in their 70s, six people in their 80s and three in their 90s.

Most of the deaths were in Auckland – with six deaths. Five were from Waikato and two were from Mid Central, while one death each was recorded in Northland, Bay of Plenty,Tairāwhiti, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington and Nelson Marlborough.

There are 14,175 new cases of the virus in the community, the Ministry of Health says – down from 15,871 yesterday, with the rolling seven-day average of community cases at 16,943. Auckland is still – just – recording the highest number of new community cases, with 2652, closely trailed by Canterbury with 2402.

There are 841 people in hospital, 27 of whom are in ICU.

Today is the first day of the relaxed rules, including no gathering limits for outdoor activities and events, as well as an increased 200-person limit for indoor gatherings.

There is also no longer any requirement to scan in or for a business to display a QR code poster.

The number of people hospitalised also continued to fall, which was “encouraging”, the Ministry of Health said.

“This is driven by a decrease in hospitalisations across Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty, some of the first regions to be affected by Omicron.

“However, every hospitalisation is a reminder of the importance of getting vaccinated to prevent severe illness from Covid-19. Vaccine effectiveness for Omicron declines after your second dose, however, a booster restores it to about 90 per cent. Our best protection both for ourselves, and for our whānau, is to be up to date with vaccinations – which includes a booster.”

The average age of those in hospital is 58, with the unvaccinated or ineligible to be vaccinated making up 19.4 per cent of hospitalisations in Northland and Auckland hospitals.

A further 3.5 per cent were partially immunised, 33.1 per cent were double vaccinated and 39.3 per cent were boosted. Just under 5 per cent of cases were of unknown vaccination status.

“The figures show that almost 4 per cent of people aged 12 and over in the Northern Region have had no doses of the vaccine, while of those aged 12 and over in Northland and Auckland hospitals with Covid-19 for whom we have vaccination status recorded, 17.8 per cent have had no doses of the vaccine and are more than four times over-represented in our hospitalisation figures.”

Hospitalisations for Covid-19 around the country are: Northland, 33, North Shore, 141, Middlemore, 187, Auckland, 144, Waikato, 51, Bay of Plenty, 35, Lakes, 13, Tairāwhiti, 3, Hawke’s Bay, 44, Taranaki, 12, Whanganui, 3, MidCentral, 20, Hutt Valley, 15, Capital and Coast, 38, Wairarapa, 3, Nelson Marlborough, 12, Canterbury, 57, South Canterbury, 1, West Coast, 1, Southern, 28.

There are 118,592 active cases in the community, with the total cases in New Zealand since the pandemic began now at 586,157.

The latest data for vaccinations showed 95.1 per cent of over-12s were double dosed and 72.6 per cent of those eligible were boosted. Among Māori, 88 per cent had received two doses, with 57.9 per cent of those eligible boosted. Pacific peoples over 12 are 96.4 per cent double vaccinated and 59.2 per cent of those eligible are boosted.

Yesterday, Northern Region Health Coordination Centre chief clinical officer Dr Andrew Old said people should enjoy the weekend but stay home if sick and get a test – and report that test result.

“With greater mixing comes greater risk.”

We are all interconnected – so while people were out there making decisions for themselves, Old urged people to think of those more vulnerable.

The health system would continue to be challenged for some time, he said. The pressures continued to be “coming off” but they were still significant.

Case numbers have declined consistently for two weeks in Auckland and have been a third of what they were at the peak of the outbreak.

Yesterday there were 15,871 new community Covid cases and 13 new deaths, including a person in their 30s.

There were 899 people in hospital, with 27 of them in intensive care.

Old said yesterday while cases were coming down “quite steeply”, everyone should protect themselves with masks and social distancing.

He said “past the peak doesn’t mean out of the woods” and reminded people we were continuing to get thousands of cases per day.

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