1 Mar 2022

Covid-19 update: Nearly 20,000 community cases, 373 in hospital, 9 in ICU

2:20 pm on 1 March 2022

There are 19,566 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today, the Ministry of Health has reported.

It said there were also 373 cases in hospital and nine in ICU.

The new community cases today were in Northland (329), Auckland (12,530), Waikato (1812), Bay of Plenty (1185), Lakes (376), Hawke's Bay (168), MidCentral (260), Whanganui (45), Taranaki (165), Tairāwhiti (88), Wairarapa (42), Capital and Coast (691), Hutt Valley (355), Nelson Marlborough (196), Canterbury (740), South Canterbury (37), Southern (529), West Coast (17) and one case is unknown.

There were 22 cases identified at the border.

During the 1pm Covid-19 update, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said there were just under 100,000 active cases across the motu.

"I know that such a high daily case number can be concerning for people to hear, and many of us will now have whānau members who now have Covid-19, but it's important to remember that Covid-19 now is a very different foe to what it was at the beginning of the pandemic."

He said the high vaccination rate meant for most people it would be a more mild illness and could be managed safely at home.

He said PCR testing had served NZ incredibly well, but with thousands of cases each day NZ did reach the point last week where rapid antigen testing became both useful and appropriate.

He said samples were typically pooled earlier on in the outbreak, but a positive test in a batch means each will need to be retested. Higher test positivity rates now however meant it becomes less feasible.

He said prior to 7 February, none of the labs had ever exceeded 5 percent test positivity, but the swift increase in positive cases had affected that. Labs had also had other difficulties, including vacancies in roles and sickness because some lab workers had contracted the virus.

On vaccinations, the ministry said 388 first doses were given yesterday; 733 second doses; 74 third primary doses; 23,465 booster doses; 1,452 paediatric first doses and 231 paediatric second doses.

Yesterday saw 14,633 community cases reported, with 344 people hospitalised across Northland (5), North Shore (53), Middlemore (128), Auckland (100), Tauranga (11), Taranaki (1), Waikato (28), Canterbury (4) Southern (4), Hutt Valley (6) Capital and Coast (3) and Tairawhiti (1).

Five people with Covid-19 were in ICU yesterday.

The 1pm media briefings in the Beehive theatrette have been reinstated as New Zealanders prepare for the full impact of the Omicron outbreak.

From today, Bloomfield will front the briefings on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins will appear on Wednesdays.

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