14 Nov 2023

Covid-19 update: 5947 new cases, 5 deaths in week to 12 November

10:11 am on 14 November 2023
Collage of Covid molecules and graph

Wastewater detections of Covid-19 show New Zealand is experiencing its fifth wave of the virus. Photo: 123rf.com / Composite Image - RNZ

There have been 5947 new cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand over the week to Sunday, and five further deaths attributed to the virus. Of the new cases, 1047 were probable cases.

Of the cases 3140 were reinfections.

There were 284 cases in hospital and 4 in intensive care, as at midnight 12 November.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases was 849 per day.

Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker told RNZ's First Up last week the country was experiencing its fifth wave of Covid-19 infections.

The rate of wastewater detection of the virus was at its highest rate since January, and the real number of cases would be higher than what was being reported, he said.

"Part of it is the change, the removal of the requirement for self-isolation and also the end of the leave support scheme back in mid August. We saw case numbers, self-reported numbers drop off.

"But the thing to look at now, of course, is the wastewater testing and this doesn't depend on human behaviour, and this is showing a really big uptick in detections of the virus across the country at the moment."

Te Whatu Ora is urging those at highest risk from infection to protect themselves as the latest wave sweeps the country.

Director of Public Health Dr Nick Jones said at-risk people should make sure they were up to date with their Covid-19 boosters and use antiviral medications early if they caught the virus.

He said the assumption Covid-19 was associated with winter was not necessarily correct.

"I don't think the evidence is there to support that. We seem to be seeing upticks in cases probably every six months or so, and it's probably driven by the waning of immunity over time and the gradual evolution of the virus which continues to change over time."

Free masks and rapid antigen tests (RAT) were still available from participating pharmacies and RAT collection sites.

Jones said when picking up masks, people should talk to staff about whether a medical or a P2/N95 type was the best option for them.

Last week, Te Whatu Ora reported 5872 new cases and 19 further deaths.

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