Nine more Covid-related deaths, 1078 new cases in Canterbury

Nine Covid-19 related deaths have been reported in Canterbury today and there are 1078 new cases in the region.

There were 6862 new community cases in New Zealand on Friday - including 148 in South Canterbury - as well as 350 people in hospital with the virus and 25 deaths, the Ministry of Health said.

Of the 25 deaths reported today, nine were from Canterbury, five were from the Auckland region, three were from Northland, one was from Waikato, one was from Hawkes Bay, two were from the Wellington region, one was from Midcentral, one was from Bay of Plenty, and two were from Southern. One person was in their 30s, three people were their 40s, four in their 50s. two people were in their 60s, four were in their 70s, six were in their 80s, and five were aged over 90. Thirteen were female and 11 were male, and the gender of one person was not reported.

The total number of deaths with Covid-19 is 1127 and the seven-day rolling average of reported deaths is 13, the ministry said in today's update.

Of the 350 people in hospitals across the country, 10 are in ICU, 46 are in Canterbury DHB hospitals and 11 are in South Canterbury hospitals.

The other cases in hospital are in Northland: 10; Waitemata: 35; Counties Manukau: 25; Auckland: 62; Waikato: 23; Bay of Plenty: 7; Lakes: 5; Tairāwhiti: 2; Hawke’s Bay: 20; Taranaki: 6; Whanganui: 3; MidCentral: 13; Wairarapa:2; Hutt Valley: 5; Capital and Coast: 29; Nelson Marlborough: 11;  South Canterbury: 11; West Coast: 1; Southern: 34.  The ministry said the Wairarapa DHB has not submitted its hospitalisation numbers, so yesterday’s numbers are included. It also said yesterday’s hospitalisation numbers for Hutt Valley were reported as 34 in error - and the correct number was four.

The number of community cases is trending down - with the seven-day rolling average is 6960, while last Friday it was 8032.

Today's 6862 new community cases were reported in Northland (234), Auckland (2292), Waikato (505), Bay of Plenty (193), Lakes (104), Hawke's Bay (155), MidCentral (214), Whanganui (79), Taranaki (198), Tairāwhiti (30), Wairarapa (57), Capital and Coast (543), Hutt Valley (203), Nelson Marlborough (283), Canterbury (1078), South Canterbury (148), Southern (484) and the West Coast (60). The locations of two cases is not known.

Bloomfield tests positive
Meanwhile, health officials confirmed Dr Ashley Bloomfield had tested positive for Covid while representing New Zealand in Switzerland at the World Health Assembly.

Bloomfield, who returned a positive result yesterday, was now self-isolating in Geneva meaning his return to New Zealand would be delayed. He had been following all appropriate health precautions and was experiencing mild symptoms, said officials.

Earlier today Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced details about the second Pfizer jab, indicating hundreds of thousands of people would be eligible for the shot in coming months.

It follows a recommendation from the ministry's vaccination advisory group that a second booster dose might be beneficial for those most at-risk of serious illness from the infection and with a gap of six months from their previous booster.

Older people, aged care facility residents, disability care residents aged 16 years and over, and severely immunocompromised people aged 16 years and over, could be eligible.

The vast majority of this targeted group would be able to get their second shot from July.

New variant
It comes as a new Omicron variant emerged in the community in Hawke's Bay this week.

On Wednesday, health officials revealed the first case of Omicron sub-variant BA.2.12.1 in a community case, without a clear link to the border, from a test result returned earlier in May.

The subvariant is prevalent in the United States and had been detected at the New Zealand border for many weeks, with 29 imported cases reported since April.

The ministry said emerging data suggested BA.2.12.1 was marginally more transmissible than the subvariants currently circulating in New Zealand.

Genomic surveillance remained in place to study any new variants and track their spread.

Meanwhile, the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants had been detected in wastewater samples at Rosedale on Auckland's North Shore and in Gisborne.

"The BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants are being monitored by the World Health Organisation; to date, compared to BA.2, there is clinical data to suggest an increased transmissibility but no data suggesting it causes more severe illness," said the ministry.

Officials said the vast majority of recently sequenced cases in New Zealand continued to be of the Omicron BA.2 sub-variant, with small number of cases with the BA.1 sub-variant.

-Additional reporting NZ Herald


Local trusted journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Star Media journalists and photographers continue to report local stories that matter everyday - yours.

For more than 152 years our journalists have provided Cantabrians with local news that can be trusted. It’s more important now than ever to keep Cantabrians connected.

As our advertising has fallen during the pandemic, support from you our reader is crucial.

You can help us continue to provide local news you can trust simply by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter