Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: 14,941 new cases in the community today and one more death

Watch Live: Day 20 of the Wellington Covid-19 convoy protest. Video / NZ Herald

Nearly 15,000 new community cases of Covid-19 and one further death were reported today.

A patient died yesterday in a hospital in Northland. The person died of an unrelated medical condition and had tested positive for Covid-19, the health ministry said.

The tally of 14,941 community cases, including more than 9,000 in Auckland, shatters New Zealand’s previous record number of cases for the sixth consecutive day.

There are now 305 people in hospital, 42 more than yesterday. The number in intensive care remains at five.

“During the last fortnight, 59% [of cases] are under 30 and 12% are over 50,” the health ministry said.

“The two age groups with the highest percentage of cases are those aged 10-19 and those aged 20-29 which make up 25% and 25%
hundred cases respectively.

However, the opposite trend has been seen among those hospitalized with the virus, most over the age of 50, officials said.

“This reflects similar trends seen overseas where young people, who are more socially active, often have higher infection rates, although it is the older age groups who are most likely to require a hospital treatment due to Covid-19.”

The three DHBs in the Auckland region “continue to predominate with the highest infection rates in the country”.

But DHBs from the south, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty also have high rates.

The locations of the new cases are: Northland (225), Auckland (9046), Waikato (1519), Bay of Plenty (812), Lakes (208), Hawke’s Bay (136), MidCentral (142), Whanganui (19), Taranaki (100), Tairāwhiti (69), Wairarapa (45), Capital and Coast (516), Hutt Valley (373), Nelson Marlborough (158), Canterbury (981), South Canterbury (44), Southern (532), West Coast (9); Unknown (5).

Of the 305 patients hospitalized with the virus, two are in Northland Hospital, 45 are in North Shore, 110 are in Middlemore, 100 are in Auckland, five are in Tauranga, three are in Taranaki, 34 are in Waikato and three each are in Canterbury and South.

The average age of people currently hospitalized is 52 years old.

Of the nearly 15,000 new cases detected since yesterday, 5,747 were detected via PCR tests. The other 9,194 were reported via rapid antigen test (RAT) tests.

There were 41 new cases detected at the border.

Over the past week, the number of newly detected community cases of Covid-19 each day has increased more than fivefold – from just over 2,500 cases reported last Sunday to 13,606 yesterday.

The huge spike in cases has named New Zealand one of the most contagious places in the world right now, according to a new analysis.

Since last Sunday, hospitalizations have also increased but not nearly at the same rate. There were 100 Covid-19 patients in hospital a week ago and 263 yesterday.

That’s about as expected, according to a 25-page update on the latest studies on Omicron variants released by the Department of Health in recent days. Omicron remains more transmissible than the previously dominant Delta variant, but continues to have a lower risk of hospitalization and death, the report says.

However, vaccination status and comorbidities still play an important role in determining overall risk, the report notes.

“A pre-printed Swedish study comparing the Omicron period to Delta found that the risk of severe disease was lower with Omicron by 40% for unvaccinated people and 71% for vaccinated people,” the report said.

Police and protesters clash in Parliament on Saturday, which marked the 19th day of the anti-mandate occupation.  Photo/George Heard
Police and protesters clash in Parliament on Saturday, which marked the 19th day of the anti-mandate occupation. Photo/George Heard

“Furthermore, the risk of severe Covid-19 remained high among unvaccinated and first-infected cases of both sexes during the Omicron period in the 65+ age group, as well as among men in the age group 40-64 with two or more comorbidities.”

A US study, meanwhile, found that while the risk of hospitalization is lower per individual, hospitalizations have increased overall due to the sharp increase in the number of people infected.

There were eight Covid-related deaths in New Zealand in the week from last Sunday to yesterday – with five deaths reported on Friday alone.

New Zealand’s Covid Adverse Distinction

New Zealand’s infection rate is currently the highest in the world, according to

an analysis published this morning

by Rako Science, which offers saliva PCR tests.

However, the unwanted distinction is not particularly surprising as New Zealand’s surge comes after the outbreak of Omicron has already peaked in many other countries.

New Zealand’s Reff – also known as its “effective reproduction number” or “R-value” – was 3.74 this morning, Rako Science noted. This means that on average each person with Covid-19 would spread it to 3.74 other people.

In countries where the epidemic has peaked and cases are declining, the Reff is less than one.

For example, New South Wales and Victoria in Australia both peaked early in the year with Reffs at around 3.5. Both states, however, have since fallen below one. Meanwhile, in Western Australia, which experiences a similar Omicron timeline to New Zealand, the R-value is currently 3.07.

Spread of protest

Today’s Covid figures come as anti-mandate protests continue – and as health officials warn they are potentially becoming superspreader events.

Protesters who were in Wellington were starting to show up at hospitals across the country with Covid-19 after returning home, health and police officials said yesterday.

“We are advising anyone currently attending the protest, or who participated in it, who has cold and flu symptoms, to get tested and self-isolate until they receive their result,” said the Ministry of Health.

Yesterday, which marked the 19th day of the deadlock in the capital, protests also broke out in Auckland, Tauranga and Christchurch.

Auckland protesters camped out on the estate last night with no visible police presence.  Photo / Provided
Auckland protesters camped out on the estate last night with no visible police presence. Photo / Provided

Police in riot gear arrived outside Parliament last night after a day marked by sometimes rowdy scenes – including an arrest and several officers saying they had been spat on.

However, police estimated around 200 new arrivals to the occupation on Saturday – fewer than expected.

At the Auckland Domain, there was no visible police presence this morning after protesters camped out overnight. About a dozen tents had been erected.

The school closes

Rising cases over the past week have prompted a school in West Auckland to

temporarily close its doors

starts tomorrow.

Henderson Intermediate principal Wendy Esera and council chair have issued the call for everyone to switch to online learning for the next two weeks after realizing that as of Thursday 169 students had already had to isolate because they were someone’s family contact. with the virus.

On Friday, there was a case in almost every classroom and several staff members were also sick. One class had four confirmed cases.

Children of essential workers will remain the exception to the new rule. They will still be allowed on campus.

About one in five schools nationwide had at least one Covid case among students or staff on Thursday. This is equivalent to 549 schools or kura.

Of these, 326 were in Auckland, according to the Department for Education.

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