There are 618 people with Covid-19 in hospital today, an increase on yesterday’s 597, the Ministry of Health has reported. Ten of these are in ICU, the same as yesterday.
Community cases have again dropped, down from 18,833 yesterday to 15,161 today. Of today’s cases, 14,618 were confirmed via rapid antigen test, with just 547 by PCR.
Just four new cases were detected at the border.
One person with Covid, who had unrelated medical conditions, has died in Auckland City Hospital.
Cases drop for the second day in a row, but don’t get too excited yet
“While decreases in cases can be encouraging, the Ministry of Health urges caution,” said the ministry in a statement.
“The variation in reporting numbers each day means that the rolling average of cases gives a more reliable indicator of testing trends. The seven-day rolling average of cases is today 17,272, up from 16,687 yesterday.
“Additionally, public health officials consider that one possible reason for the decrease in cases could be related to delays in people self-reporting rapid antigen test results, even if it is a negative result.”
Unvaccinated four times over-represented in hospitalisations
On the increase in hospitalisations, the ministry said, “The hospitalisation figure of 544 on Thursday was six times the peak in hospitalisations seen in the delta outbreak last year. The number of cases in hospital is currently expected to peak in the second half of this month.”
People who are hospitalised with omicron are more likely to have a shorter stay and less likely to be admitted to ICU or require oxygen or ventilation support, said the ministry.
Most people hospitalised are in the Auckland region, with 117 in North Shore Hospital, 184 in Middlemore, and 167 in Auckland Hospital.
Unvaccinated people are four times over-represented in the current hospitalisation data, said the ministry. “Just 3% of eligible people aged 12 and over in New Zealand have had no doses of the vaccine, however, of the eligible people in Northland and Auckland hospitals with Covid-19, 13% have had no doses of the vaccine.”
Of today’s new cases, 382 were in Northland, 7,226 in Auckland, 1,334 in Waikato, 937 in Bay of Plenty, 434 in Lakes, 336 in Hawke’s Bay, 378 in MidCentral, 59 in Whanganui, 239 in Taranaki, 166 in Tairāwhiti, 85 in Wairarapa, 1,161 in Capital and Coast, 648 in Hutt Valley, 233 in Nelson Marlborough, 1,019 in Canterbury, 52 in South Canterbury, 444 in Southern, 17 in West Coast, and it’s not known where 11 cases are.
Despite the number of cases in Auckland dropping for the second day in a row, the ministry said for the week of February 24 to March 3, 61% of new cases were reported in Auckland.
The ministry also provided ethnicity data for new cases in the week from February 24-March 3. The highest proportion was New Zealand European, at 39%, followed by Pacific people (26%). However, rates of infection are highest for Pacific people (7,510 per 100,000), followed by Māori (2,465 per 100,000), Asian (2,234 per 100,000) and lowest for New Zealand European (1,322 per 100,000).