206 new community cases in South

There are 2846 new community cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today, a record total, including 206 in the southern area.

It's a big jump in case numbers in the Southern DHB area, after 86 yesterday and 111 on Sunday.

The Ministry of Health says there are now 657 active cases in the SDHB area.

Today's numbers from the ministry come after a national tally of 2365 yesterday and a previous record 2522 on Sunday. There were also two further deaths associated with the virus yesterday.

There are 143 people in hospital today, one in ICU.

The new cases are in: Northland (36), Auckland (1,802), Waikato (285), Bay of Plenty (86), Lakes (19), Hawke’s Bay (25), MidCentral (25), Whanganui (19), Taranaki (26), Tairāwhiti (17), Wairarapa (2), Capital and Coast (84), Hutt Valley (25), Nelson Marlborough (77), Canterbury (105), South Canterbury (4), Southern (206).

There are also 15 new cases identified at the border.

The ministry said there were 18,628 active community cases today, and the total number of cases since the pandemic began was 35,771.

While most of the cases in the current outbreak are believed to be the Omicron variant, health officials have confirmed that Southerners are battling both the Omicron and Delta variants of the virus. 

Environmental Science and Research data has picked up Delta hotspots in both Wellington and Dunedin, and the Southern District Health Board yesterday confirmed it was dealing with cases of it, as well as Omicron.

"Both are active in the southern district, although the vast majority of cases are Omicron," a spokeswoman said.

Delta is much more transmissible than the original strains of Covid and also more virulent, and was the strain for which the SDHB had devised its most recent plans.

However, those plans were revised after the emergence of Omicron, which is much more transmissible than Delta but less virulent.

Omicron is eventually expected to swamp Delta, but for now the SDHB was unaware how many cases of each it faced.