21 Aug 2023

Covid-19 update: 3953 new cases, a further 12 deaths

3:57 pm on 21 August 2023
Collage of two sick people

(file image) Photo: 123rf.com / Composite Image - RNZ

There have been 3953 new cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand and a further 12 deaths attributed to the virus over the past week.

Of the new cases, 1816 were reinfections.

The total number of deaths attributed to the virus in New Zealand is now 3261.

As of midnight on Sunday, there were 158 cases in hospital, with five people in intensive care.

Canterbury has the highest number of reported cases with 580, followed by Waitematā with 471, then Capital and Coast with 360.

The national seven day rolling average is 562.

Last week, the Ministry of Health reported 5372 new cases over the previous week and 20 further deaths.

On 15 August, the last remaining Covid-19 mandates were dropped.

It is no longer a legal requirement to self-isolate for seven days if you test positive for Covid-19 and masks do not need to be worn in healthcare facilities.

A GPs advocacy group, General Practice New Zealand, said practices learned from the pandemic, like staying home when sick or wearing masks in health facilities, should remain in place to halt the spread of infectious diseases.

University of Otago epidemiologist Michael Baker also urged people to stay home when they were sick with Covid-19, even though all of the health restrictions had been lifted.

University of Auckland mathematics professor and Covid-19 modeller Michael Plank had said he expected the lack of mask and isolation requirements to have a minimal impact on case numbers, adding that the main drivers of infection were people who were asymptomatic cases or had not tested yet.

Meanwhile, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said it was tracking a new, highly mutated lineage of the virus that causes Covid-19, named BA.2.86, which had so far been detected in the United States, Denmark and Israel.

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