Today's COVID-19 numbers
- 8,150 new community cases
- 368 cases in hospital
- 51,133 active community cases
- 16,430 total RATs in the last 24 hours
- 3,501 total PCR tests in the last 24 hours
Update from the Ministry of Health
Today we are reporting 8,150 community cases, 368 hospitalisations and 11 deaths.
The 7-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 7,308 — last Wednesday, it was 8,024.
Omicron BA.2.12.1 update
We are today reporting our first case of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 in a community case, without a clear link to the border, in Hawke’s Bay from a test result returned on 10 May 2022.
This Omicron subvariant is prevalent in the USA and has been detected at our border for many weeks — there have been 29 imported cases reported since April, so its movement into the community is not unexpected.
Emerging data suggests BA.2.12.1 is marginally more transmissible than the subvariants currently circulating in Aotearoa New Zealand. Our genomic surveillance (genomes and wastewater) remains in place to study any new variants and track their spread.
The public health settings already in place to manage other Omicron variants are assessed to be appropriate for managing subvariants present in our community and no changes are required.
Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 update
Meanwhile, the Omicron BA.4 and/or BA.5 subvariants have been detected in wastewater samples at Rosedale on Auckland’s North Shore and in Gisborne.
The presence of these subvariants in the community is also not unexpected.
The BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are being monitored by the World Health Organization. To date, compared to BA.2, there is clinical data to suggest increased transmissibility but no data suggesting it causes more severe illness.
As with all variants of Omicron, public health advice remains the same. Getting your booster remains one of the best defences against COVID-19. Wear a mask indoors, stay home if you are unwell, get tested if you are symptomatic, and get vaccinated.
The vast majority of recently sequenced cases in New Zealand continue to be of the Omicron BA.2 sub-variant, with a small number of cases with the BA.1 sub-variant.
We are continuing to monitor the transmission of all variants across the country and internationally. These latest detections emphasise the importance of continued wastewater testing, as increasingly ESR sequencing is able to refine what its testing detects. The sequencing can determine that either BA.4 or BA.5 subvariant or both may be present but is not able to be more specific at this stage.
Today we are sadly reporting the deaths of 11 people with COVID-19. The deaths being reported today are for people who have died in the past 10 days, apart from 1 death on 6 May and 1 death on 11 April.
Delays in reporting can be associated with people dying with COVID-19, rather than from COVID-19, and COVID being discovered only after they have died.
These deaths take the total number of publicly reported deaths with COVID-19 to 1,086 and the 7-day rolling average of reported deaths is 10.
Of the people whose deaths we are reporting today; 2 were from the Auckland region, 1 was from Waikato, 2 were from Taranaki, 1 was from Hawke’s Bay, 1 was from MidCentral, 3 were from Canterbury, and 1 was from Southern.
One person was aged under 10, 1 was in their 30s, 1 was in their 60s, 1 was in their 70s, 3 were in their 80s, and 4 were aged over 90.
Of these people, 6 were female and 5 were male.
This is a very sad time for whānau and friends and our thoughts and condolences are with them.
Out of respect, we will be making no further comment on these deaths.