Covid-19: Four more deaths in Canterbury as new Omicron subvariant detected in NZ

Four more people with Covid-19 have died in Canterbury, the Ministry of Health says.

There are 9629 new Covid community cases in New Zealand today and 493 people currently in hospital.

Another 24 virus-related deaths have also been reported. Of these people five were from Auckland region, three were from Waikato, four from Bay of Plenty, one was from Lakes, one was from Hawke’s Bay, one was from MidCentral, four were from Wellington region, four were from Canterbury, and one was from Southern. Three were in their 40s, five were in their seventies, seven were in their 80s, and nine were aged over 90. Fourteen were women and 10 were men. These deaths occurred in the period since April 14.

The total number of publicly reported deaths of people with Covid-19 is now 1591 and the seven-day rolling average is 15.

Of the 493 people currently in hospital, 11 are in ICU or HDU, 59 are in Canterbury and seven are in South Canterbury.

The other cases in hospital are spread across Northland: 8; Waitematā: 101; Counties Manukau: 34; Auckland: 53; Waikato: 53; Bay of Plenty: 29; Lakes: 9; Hawke’s Bay: 16; MidCentral: 14; Whanganui: 7; Taranaki: 12; Tairawhiti: 2; Wairarapa: 7; Capital and Coast: 37; Hutt Valley: 6; Nelson Marlborough: 10; West Coast: 1; and Southern: 28.

The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 7246, while this time last week it was 5480.

The number of active cases in New Zealand is now 50,698.

The ministry says the rise in cases today is not unexpected as New Zealand moves towards the winter peak for respiratory illness.

"In addition, it is not unusual for reported cases to rise following a weekend."

*The change in total case numbers may not be equal to the number of new cases reported today due to data updating and reconciliation. From July 5th 2022 this column contains the number of new cases reported in the last 24 hours. Previously the change in cases in the last 24 hours was reported.

Omicron subvariant 

The Omicron subvariant BA.2.75 has been detected in New Zealand for the first time, the ministry said.

"The ministry regularly assesses the latest evidence on variants to ensure that our public health settings are appropriate. 

"At this stage, there is no evidence that BA.2.75 requires a shift in public health settings already in place to manage other Omicron variants.

"On Friday afternoon, analysis of whole genome sequencing confirmed two cases in New Zealand with BA.2.75. Before testing positive for COVID-19, both cases had recently travelled from India, where this subvariant has been detected.

"BA.2.75 is a recently identified second generation subvariant of BA.2, the dominant variant circulating in New Zealand at this stage.

"BA.2.75 has only been recently identified as distinct from BA.2, and evidence on its transmissibility, immune evasiveness and severity is still preliminary and emerging.

"We do know BA.2.75 has some characteristics that looks like they may enhance its ability to evade immunity, similar to the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, and there is some early evidence overseas that it may be slightly more transmissible that BA.2.

"There is no current evidence that it leads to more severe disease, although assessing the evidence is at a very early stage."









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