Today we are reporting 20,989 new community cases, 856 people in hospital with the virus, and seven additional COVID-19 related deaths.
This is highest number of deaths reported in a single day since the start of the pandemic and is a reminder that the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus can still cause serious illness and/or death either directly or by its impact on other health conditions.
Getting vaccinated and boosted will help to keep you out of hospital if you catch COVID-19 and could save your life.
COVID-19 related deaths can lag behind a rise in cases and hospitalisations and an increase in deaths was not unexpected given the high number of cases over the past two weeks However, it important to remember that each of these deaths represents significant loss for family and loved ones. Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with all their families and friends at this sad time.
DHBs have been planning and preparing for managing COVID-19 and the higher number of cases in the community, including managing more people in hospital. Our hospitals and their dedicated staff members continue to do what’s needed to make sure everyone gets the treatment they need.
DHBs have the flexibility to change their operations to respond to sharp increases in COVID-19 case numbers. Significant effort has been made by DHBs to maintain service delivery over recent months and measures have been put in place, such as extended hours, outsourcing of surgery to private provideres, and increased use of telehealth to maintain delivery of a wide range of services.
We sincerely thank DHB teams for their continued efforts during this time.
As we have said, we are today reporting the deaths of seven people with COVID-19. Of these deaths, five occurred in the Auckland region, one in Waikato, and one in the Southern region. The total number of publicly reported COVID-19 related deaths to date is now 98.
Of the people who have died that we are announcing today, one person was in their fifties, four were in their 70s, one was their 80s, and one person was in their 90s. Four were male and three were female.
Out of respect for affected families, we will be making no further comment.
Following the Government’s announcement on Wednesday that isolation periods would drop from 10 to seven days, we wish to provide some further information to support people if they test positive for COVID-19 or are a household contact.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you are required to isolate for 7 days. You do not need to be retested after your intial positive result. If you still have symptoms after 7 days, stay home until you feel better and then wait another 24 hrs. Most people feel better after a week but if you are getting worse please do seek help.
If you are a household contact and you have done a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) on both day 3 and 7 of the isolation period of the first COVID-19 positive person in your house, and both tests are negative, you can leave isolation on day 8 if you are well.
If you are a household contact and return a positive RATs result while isolating, you will need to isolate for a further 7 days and wait till 24 hours after you are symptom free. Other household members do not have to reset their isolation and can leave isolation on day 8, the same day as the first case can leave isolation, provided they have returned negative RATs results and are not symptomatic.
If you’re a critical worker, and you have a person in your household who has tested positive for COVID-19, you may be able to continue working if you 1) are fully vaccinated 2) you do not have symptoms and 3) you return a negative RAT before each shift or day of work. Your employer will be able to tell you if you are a critical worker and what you need to do. When not at work, you need to isolate like any other household contact as outlined above. Critical healthcare workers that are household contacts or cases have some additional exemptions. More detail can be found here.
The key message for everyone is if you feel sick, stay at home.
Today, we are announcing more than 60% of Pacific people across the motu that have become due, have now had their booster dose.
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 just over 3% 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, 19% 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.