We are reporting 15,161 community cases of COVID-19 today, another day in which the overall daily case numbers reported has decreased.
While decreases in cases can be encouraging, the Ministry of Health urges caution.
The variation in reporting numbers each day means that the rolling average of cases gives a more reliable indicator of testing trends. The seven-day rolling average of cases is today 17,272, up from 16,687 yesterday.
Additionally, public health officials consider that one possible reason for the decrease in cases could be related to delays in people self-reporting Rapid Antigen Test results, even if it is a negative result.
It is essential we have as much information as possible to inform public health decision-making. If you take a Rapid Antigen Test, report the result online through my COVID Record.
Instructions for self-reporting RAT results can be found on the Unite Against COVID website.
We are continuing to see increases in COVID-19 related hospitalisations, which is significantly greater than those from last year's Delta outbreak. The hospitalisation figure of 544 on Thursday was six times the peak in hospitalisations seen in the Delta outbreak last year. The number of cases in hospital is currently expected to peak in the second half of this month. The Omicron variant means people who are hospitalised are more likely to have a shorter stay and less likely to be admitted to ICU or require oxygen or ventilation support.
Most cases in the week from 24 February to 3 March have continued to be reported in Auckland where, 61% of new cases were reported.
In the week from 24 February to 3 March more cases were reported in New Zealand Europeans (39%), followed by Pacific people (26%). However, rates of infection are highest for Pacific people (7,510 per 100,000), followed by Maori (2,465 per 100,000), Asian (2,234 per 100,000) and lowest for New Zealand European (1,322 per 100,000).
With Omicron continuing to spread, your household may be affected soon if it hasn’t already. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you will need to isolate while you recover from COVID-19. Others in your household will need to also isolate with you until the end of your isolation period.
Stock up on supplies before there’s a COVID-19 case in your household. In addition, organise with friends, whānau or neighbours to do contactless drop-offs of food and supplies as needed and/or discuss your medication needs with your local pharmacist ahead of time.
Being ready for getting COVID-19 is about making sure you and your household have a plan and know what to do. It will mean your whānau and community can help each other if needed.
The Ministry would like to thank the many people reporting their Rapid Antigen Tests with more than 40,000 test results reported in the past 24 hours, of which 14,618 were positive.
We are continuing to see a high demand for Rapid Antigen Tests and the Ministry continues to assure people that we have good supply of tests.
Yesterday, 34,000 RATs order were placed through the RAT requester site. Another 3.5 million RATs are being sent out to collection sites around the country today. A total of 8 million RATs are arriving into the country over the weekend.
With tens of thousands of people collecting RATs from testing centres and collection sites, our request is to, please, be patient and kind to each other and staff.
If you are symptomatic or a household contact, you can order RATs through the newly launched RAT requester site. You, or someone of your behalf, can collect your RAT order from a collection site listed on Healthpoint. Please only go to those sites that are listed as collection sites.
The priority for COVID-19 response for free RATs remains those who are symptomatic or a household contact. Please do not order or request RATs from testing centre or collections sites unless you are unwell or a household contact. International travel pre-departure testing is not covered under the public health response. If you are well, you can still purchase RATs from one of a growing number of retailers which stock them.
Sadly, we are today reporting the death of a person in Auckland Hospital.
The person had unrelated medical conditions and had tested positive for COVID-19.
Our thoughts and condolences are with their person’s whānau and friends.
Out of respect for privacy, we will be making no further comment.
5 to 11-year-olds - Pacific Peoples: 22,156 first dose (44.9%); 630 second dose (1.3%)
Note that the number for “People vaccinated” differs slightly from “Vaccines administered” as it includes those that have been vaccinated overseas.
*Partially and second doses percentages are for those 12+. Boosted percentages are for 18+ who have become eligible 3 months after having their second dose
*While still early in the Omicron outbreak, the figures show that, based on the data available, unvaccinated people are four times over-represented in the current hospitalisation data. Just 3% of eligible people aged 12 and over in New Zealand have had no doses of the vaccine, however, of the eligible people in Northland and Auckland hospitals with COVID-19, 13% have had no doses of the vaccine.
Please note, the Ministry of Health’s daily reported cases may differ slightly from those reported at a DHB or local public health unit level. This is because of different reporting cut off times and the assignment of cases between regions, for example when a case is tested outside their usual region of residence. Total numbers will always be the formal daily case tally as reported to the WHO.