The Ministry of Health has expedited the process for formally coding the cause of death for those who are known to have died within 28 days of a COVID-19 infection or as a result of COVID-19 infection.
This means that most of the deaths that have now been publicly announced have been assessed as either having COVID-19 as the underlying cause, contributing to the death, or unrelated to the death.
As of this morning:
• 447 people have died with COVID-19 as the underlying cause of death. Of these, 439 died within 28 days of being reported as a case.
• 231 people have died with COVID-19 as a contributing cause of death. Of these, 229 died within 28 days of being reported as a case.
• 161 people, all of whom died within 28 days of being reported as a case, had a cause of death unrelated to COVID-19
• 138 people who died within 28 days of being reported as a case have yet to be classified. In some instances, the cause of death can take longer to determined, including if it is being investigated by a coroner.
Our thoughts are with everyone who has lost a loved one from COVID-19.
While there has been a significant increase in the number of deaths from COVID-19 since the start of the Omicron outbreak, New Zealand has still experienced significantly lower cumulative COVID-19 mortality than most countries.
These deaths are a sobering reminder that, while most people with COVID-19 will experience a mild to moderate illness, for some people it can lead to severe illness and even death. There are three actions everyone can do to help protect themselves and others from COVID-19 and potentially save lives.
Firstly – be up to date with vaccinations, including a booster if you’ve not yet had one.
Secondly – wear a mask. Masks are still required in many indoor settings. A good rule of thumb is to wear a mask in indoor public settings as we know that mask use halves the risk of spread of COVID-19.
And thirdly – stay home and avoid others if you’re unwell, isolating or waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test.
The Ministry of Health will continue to update information about deaths of people with COVID-19, including the cause of death, on its website at COVID-19: Case demographics.