Today we are reporting 6,232 community cases, 390 current hospitalisations, and 14 deaths.
The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 6,850 – last Friday, it was 6,960
Today we are sadly reporting the deaths of 14 people with COVID-19. Thirteen people have died in the past 8 days, while we are also reporting the historical death of a case late in 2020.
This case had recovered at the time of death but was recently classified as having COVID-19 as a contributory cause of their death. This will continue to happen occasionally due to the timing of the mortality coding process, particularly in instances where deaths where COVID-19 is a contributory cause, and the death falls outside of the 28 day period of testing positive for COVID.
Today’s reported deaths take the total number of publicly reported deaths with COVID-19 to 1,210 and the seven-day rolling average of reported deaths is 12.
Of the people whose deaths we are reporting today; one was from Northland; three were from the Auckland region, one was from Taranaki; one from Whanganui; one from the Wellington region; one from Nelson-Marlborough; four from Canterbury; one from South Canterbury and one from Southern.
Two people were in their 60s; three in 70s; three in their 80s and six were aged over 90.
Of these people, four were women and ten were men.
This is a very sad time for whānau and friends and our thoughts and condolences are with them.
Out of respect, we will be making no further comment on these deaths.
We are today reporting four cases of the Omicron subvariant BA.5 and one case of the subvariant BA.4 in the community, all based on whole genome sequencing of tests. These are the first BA.4 and BA.5 cases reported in the community, with no clear link to the border.
We are also reporting seven cases of BA.2.12.1 in the community, from whole genome sequencing of tests returned on 18 May.
These Omicron subvariants are prevalent overseas and have been detected at our border for many weeks. Their presence in the community is not unexpected and further cases are expected.
Emerging data suggests BA.2.12.1 is marginally more transmissible than BA.2, the dominant subvariant currently circulating in Aotearoa-New Zealand. There is some clinical data to suggest the BA.5 and BA.4 subvariants have increased transmissibility when compare to BA.2, but no data suggesting they cause more severe illness.
The vast majority of recently sequenced cases in New Zealand continue to be of the Omicron BA.2 sub-variant, with small number of cases with the BA.1 sub-variant.
In addition to the community testing, wastewater results returned in the past week have detected BA.4 or BA.5 in Auckland, New Plymouth and Porirua and BA.2.12.1 in Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Palmerston North and Taupō.
Together the community cases and wastewater results suggest that the BA.4/5 and BA.2.12.1 Omicron subvariants are circulating in parts of the community in New Zealand.
The public health settings already in place to manage other Omicron variants are assessed to be appropriate for managing subvariants present in our community and no changes are required.
The long weekend is always an ideal time to get away and relax with whanau and friends – if you are going away, please remember to have plans in place in the event you contract COVID-19 or are identified as a household contact of a case.
You would need to self-isolate and likely remain wherever you test positive or become a household contact, so there may be extra costs involved in paying for additional accommodation and changing your travel plans.
If you have used your own vehicle to travel, you can travel back to your home to isolate, taking public health measures to ensure you don’t infect anyone on your way home – such as maintaining social distance and using self-service petrol stations.
However, if you have used public transport or travelled between islands, you won’t be able to isolate at your home. So it is important you have a plan and the ability to isolate where you are holidaying, if you need to do so.
As with all variants of Omicron, the public health advice remains the same. Getting your booster remains one of the best defences against COVID-19. Stay home if you’re unwell, get tested if you’re symptomatic, wash and dry your hands, cover coughs and sneezes, wear a mask in crowded or poorly ventilated indoor public settings and get vaccinated.
For guidance if you or someone you know tests positive or becomes a household contact, visit the Ministry of Health website.
For more information on mask use at Orange, visit the Unite Against COVID-19 website.
There will be the usual 1pm updates published over the long weekend on Saturday and Sunday. On the public holiday there will be no update. Tuesday’s update will include the figures for Monday.
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 or 16 and 17 year olds who have become eligible 6 months after having their second dose.
*Please note the hospitalisation number for Waitemata DHB is yesterday’s number. We will update it online as soon as it comes through.
Please note the average age of current hospitalisations is for the Northern Region admissions only at this stage. This data is recorded and extracted from the same source as the vaccination status of patients in Northern Region hospitals.
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.