2 Mar 2022

Covid-19 update: 22,152 new community cases, 405 people in hospital

1:19 pm on 2 March 2022

There have been 22,152 new community cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand today, with 405 people in hospital, including 10 in intensive care.

01 February 2022, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Greifswald: Medical technical assistant Denise Dittmar pipettes swab samples from test centers and prepares them for further examination in the automated machine in the PCR laboratory

Photo: AFP

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has been giving a daily briefing this afternoon.

Hipkins says there are now more than 120,000 active Covid-19 cases across the country.

However, he says the key metric now is those requiring hospitalisation: "New Zealand at this point continues to experience fewer people in hospital than we've seen internationally and one of the key drivers of that is the millions of Kiwis who have been vaccinated and who have had booster doses."

Hipkins says 86 percent of the eligible population aged 5+ has now received at least one dose, with 80 percent fully vaccinated. As of midnight, 2,390,659 had received a booster - about 79 percent of the eligible population.

Some 243,244 children have received a paediatric dose - about 51 percent.

Hipkins says the high rates are making a difference, and urges people who are eligible but have not yet had a dose to take up the opportunity.

He says we have 80.8 percent of ICU or high-dependency unit beds in use, 64.5 percent of ward beds occupied, and 13.9 percent of ventilators in use.

"Covid-19 only makes up a very small fraction of those numbers and so there is still capacity there to respond to increasing case numbers," he says.

Hipkins also says there has also been an increase in demand for ambulance and healthline services from people who have relatively mild symptoms. He asks people whose symptoms are mild to just stay home and get better.

However, people who find their symptoms are getting worse should ask for help, and in a medical emergency should call 111.

Earlier this morning, data modeller Michael Plank said hospitalisations from Covid-19 were expected to top 800 within a week, if numbers kept rising at the rate they have.

Community case numbers yesterday [https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/covid-19/462513/covid-19-update-nearly-20-000-community-cases-373-in-hospital-9-in-icu neared the 20,000 mark.

Director-General of Health Dr Bloomfield also made an apology over delays to people receiving PCR test results in the past week, with a backlog from last Wednesday only beginning to clear in the past couple of days.

Opposition parties criticised Bloomfield, saying he misled the public over testing capacity, and the ACT Party calling for him to be removed.

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