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2,522 new cases of Covid-19 in the community, 100 in hospital; RATs to be rolled out at Auckland testing centres

Image: Toby Morris

2,522 new cases of Covid-19 in the community, 100 in hospital; RATs to be rolled out at Auckland testing centres

Feb 20 2022

A look at the outbreak as hospitalisations reach 100

There are 100 people in hospital with Covid-19. This is the most people in hospital with Covid-19 to date. The previous highest figure was on November 29, 2021, with 93 hospitalisations. There are no cases in intensive care.

Of the 100 hospitalisations, one is in Northland, 10 in North Shore hospital, 30 in Middlemore, 45 in Auckland, one in Rotorua, three in Tauranga, 11 in Waikato and one in Tairāwhiti.

Made with Flourish

Today’s daily case number is the highest yet, and brings the seven-day rolling average to more than 1,500.

Rapid antigen tests available at Auckland testing sites from Monday

Image: Toby Morris

From tomorrow morning, people who turn up at Auckland testing sites may be given rapid antigen tests to take home rather than receiving a nasopharyngeal PCR swab, the Ministry of Heath has announced.

The move is to relieve pressure on the PCR testing system, as Auckland testing centres have been overwhelmed in recent days as case numbers increase. Queues have been hours long, with delays of up to five days for test results. The ministry and Auckland DHBs have issued pleas to the public to not show up at testing sites unless they have symptoms, are a close contact or meet other public health criteria.

“We understand that some people may be feeling anxious at this time, but those who have no symptoms of Covid-19 and do not meet any other criteria do not need to be tested and may be turned away from testing services,” said Matt Hannant, director of operations for the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre (NRHCC), in a statement.

Each person who arrives for a test will be screened, and “Those who meet certain criteria will be able to test themselves at home with a RAT to get an indication of whether or not they have Covid-19”, said the NRHCC statement. “Those who test positive will then need to return to a testing centre to get a PCR test.”

As RATs are not as accurate as PCR tests at identifying someone early in their illness, those who receive a negative result may need to have another test if symptoms start to develop, said the ministry.

Rapid antigen tests will initially be available only at Auckland testing sites, but will be rolled out “to other high-need areas in coming days and weeks”.

The ministry said there are currently 7.3 million RATs in the country to support the public health response, “with a continual supply arriving by airfreight”.

For a full list of testing sites nationwide, visit the Healthpoint website.

2,522 new cases of Covid-19 in the community; 100 in hospital

Image: Toby Morris

There are 2,522 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today, an increase on yesterday’s total of 1,901, and New Zealand’s first day of more than 2,000 new cases.

Of these, there are 1799 in Auckland, 41 in Northland, 188 in Waikato, 86 in Bay of Plenty, 11 in Lakes, 24 in Hawke’s Bay, 13 in MidCentral, two in Whanganui, nine in Taranaki, 12 in Tairāwhiti, 14 in Wairarapa, 54 in Capital Coast, 25 in Hutt Valley, 53 in Nelson Marlborough, 76 in Canterbury, one in South Canterbury and 111 in Southern. It’s unknown which DHB area three cases are in.

Yesterday, 27,825 tests were taken. Nearly 2,000 fewer than the day before.

There are 100 people in hospital, a new pandemic record, but none of those are in intensive care. The previous highest hospitalisation total was 93, on two separate days in November, during the height of the delta outbreak.