Today we are reporting 10,424 community cases, 788 current hospitalisations, and 21 deaths.
The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 9,528.
Today we are sadly reporting the deaths of 21 people with COVID-19. They include one death from April and one death from June, which are being reported following completion of the cause of death assessment. In some instances, it can take some time for the full clinical assessments to be finalised.
The Ministry of Health and Te Whatu Ora – Health NZ are closely monitoring the continued increase in COVID-19 positive cases and hospitalisations as part of our ongoing review and updating of the response to the current community outbreak.
The case, death and hospitalisation numbers emphasise the importance of everybody doing the basics well to help prevent infection and serious illness. In particular, people should stay home if they are unwell, take a rapid antigen test (RAT) and upload the result on My Covid Record, and isolate if positive or while still symptomatic.
If you’re heading out to pick up free RATs and masks, please check the Healthpoint website to find your nearest participating pharmacy – as not all pharmacies are providing this service. People can also continue to request free COVID-19 RATs kits online.
It is important to ensure you are up to date with all vaccinations, including COVID-19 vaccinations. Many people are now eligible for a second booster dose, and flu vaccinations, which are free for many people.
Today we are reporting two community cases in Auckland with the Omicron BA.2.75 subvariant, the first time this subvariant has been detected in the community in New Zealand. Both cases are linked to known imported cases and are isolating at home.
This is in addition to the six BA.2.75 reported cases previously reported, which are all associated with recent travel overseas.
The Ministry regularly assesses the latest evidence on variants to ensure that our public health settings are appropriate. At this stage, there is no evidence that BA.2.75 requires a shift in public health settings already in place to manage other Omicron variants.
BA.2.75 is a recently identified second generation subvariant of BA.2, the dominant variant circulating in New Zealand at this stage. BA.2.75 has only been recently identified as distinct from BA.2, and evidence on its transmissibility, immune evasiveness and severity is still preliminary and emerging.
We do know BA.2.75 has some characteristics that looks like they may enhance its ability to evade immunity, similar to the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, and there is some early evidence overseas that it may be slightly more transmissible than BA.2. There is no current evidence that it leads to more severe disease, although assessing the evidence is at a very early stage.
We want to remind people to keep up good public health habits to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and winter illnesses such as the flu.
Simple measures can make a big difference, so we encourage people to wear a mask, physically distance, wash or sanitise your hands regularly, and stay home if you are unwell.
Wearing a mask remains one of the best measures to reduce transmission of infectious respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19.
As a general rule, the Ministry urges people to wear a mask in public indoor settings outside the home and in poorly ventilated spaces, or when it is hard to physically distance from other people.
You must wear a mask on public transport and at transport hubs like airports and bus stations, inside public venues like museums and libraries, when visiting a health care service, and inside retail businesses like supermarkets and shopping malls.
If you have cold and flu symptoms, it’s important to get tested for COVID-19 and self-report the result – whether positive or negative – on My COVID Record. This helps us to understand the spread of COVID-19 and where to direct our public health resources.
*These are new hospital admissions in the past 7 days prior to yesterday who had COVID at the time of admission or while in hospital, excluding hospitalisations that were admitted and discharged within 24hrs. This data is from Districts with tertiary hospitals: Auckland, Canterbury, Southern, Counties Manukau, Waikato, Capital & Coast, Waitemata and Northland.
More detailed information, including vaccine uptake by District, is available on the Ministry website.
You can also view a detailed breakdown of daily case numbers for each district since the beginning of the pandemic by clicking the ‘download’ button on the right hand side of this page: New Zealand COVID-19 data.
Please note, the Ministry of Health’s daily reported cases may differ slightly from those reported at a district 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.
Today’s reported deaths takes the total number of publicly reported deaths with COVID-19 to 1,870 and the seven-day rolling average of reported deaths is 23.
Of the people whose deaths we are reporting today: two were from Auckland region, one was from Waikato, one was from Lakes, two were from MidCentral, one was from Whanganui, three were from Wellington region, four were from Nelson/Marlborough, three were from Canterbury/West Coast and four were from Southern.
One person was in their 40s, one was in their 60s, four were in their 70s, 10 were in their 80s and five were aged over 90. Of these people, 13 were women and eight 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 today’s reported deaths.
From today, we will be changing the way we report COVID-19 deaths, shifting from reporting all people who died within 28 days of a COVID-19 infection to people who died because of COVID-19 or where it was recorded as a contributing factor. While we continue to report additional deaths with COVID-19 in the daily updates, the focus on reporting total COVID-19 deaths will shift to cases where COVID-19 is either the underlying or a contributing cause of a death. These are the deaths that can be wholly or partly ‘attributed’ to COVID-19. This a more meaningful measure in understanding the burden of severe disease from COVID-19.
Over time, this will also allow us to provide more demogra