Despite the drop in the number of cases, the epidemiologist at the University of Otago, Professor Michael Baker, says that across the country, including Auckland, there is still a lot of infection. Photo / Dean Purcell
Today, 8531 new Covid-19 cases have been registered in New Zealand.
The Ministry of Health reported 11 more deaths from Covid.
There are 635 people in hospitals with the virus, nine more than yesterday.
Of those in the hospital, 18 are in the intensive care unit, up from 17 yesterday.
Of the deaths reported today, four were from the Auckland region, two from the Wellington region and one each from Waikat, the Lakes County health district, Hawks Bay, Wanganui and Canterbury.
Five women and six men.
Most of those in the hospital are in the Auckland metro area: 96 in Waitemat, 113 in Manukau County and 104 in Auckland.
Other hospitalizations: Northland (26), Waikato (77), Bay of Plenty (27), Lakes (9), Tairāwhiti (4), Hawke’s Bay (15), Taranaki (11), Whanganui (9), MidCentral (24) . ), Wairarapa (2), Hutt Valley (15), Capital and Coast (16), Nelson Marlboro (11), Canterbury (45), South Canterbury (6), West Coast (1) and Southern (24).
The average age of those in the hospital is 58 years.
Recent deaths total the total number of publicly reported deaths from Covid-19 to 477, and the seven-day moving average number of reported deaths is 14.
Vaccination rates for Covid-19 patients in Northland and Auckland hospitals, excluding emergency departments, are 11 per cent unvaccinated or non-compliant, 2 per cent partially vaccinated, 17 per cent double vaccinated and 22 per cent stormed.
Forty-eight percent of those hospitalized with Covid-19 in Northland and Auckland hospitals have unknown vaccination status.
The average seven-day sliding number of new cases in the community is now 10,843, up from 13,804 a week ago.
Auckland continues to be ahead of Canterbury in the highest number of new cases in the community: 1,456 compared to 1,343 in Canterbury.
New cases in other areas today were: Northland (479), Waikato (744), Bay Plenty (408), Lakes (165), Bay Hawks (356), Central Central (425), Wanganui (206), Taranaki (312) , Tairāwhiti (80), Wairarapa (79), Capital and Coast (572), Hutt Valley (365), Nelson Marlborough (313), South Canterbury (162), Southern (991) and West Coast (72).
Three cases were also classified as from unknown areas.
26 new cases have also been detected at the border.
The number of active cases in the New Zealand community is now 75,871.
Since the start of the pandemic in New Zealand, more than 758,000 people have tested positive for Covid-19.
Most new cases continue to be detected by rapid antigen tests.
University of Canterbury professor Michael Planck said the steady decline in cases was “good news”, but the decline was gradual and there were still relatively large numbers of people in hospitals.
“Roughly speaking, our number of cases and hospitalizations is declining by about 15-20 percent a week. It’s been a pretty consistent picture, and I expect that trend to continue over the next few weeks.”
Health Director-General Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the number of hospitalizations in the northern region was declining, albeit slowly, and there were still quite a few people in the wards.
He said they were declining, but had a long tail of hospitalization.
Planck said the cases will have a long tail, which means the decline in cases will be slower than the increase in cases before the peak.
“While it did take us four weeks to move from very low levels to peak cases, it will take longer to decline, and at some point it will probably come to a plateau at a relatively stable level.”
Orange light for Easter?
The ministry’s figures over the weekend will be taken into account in Thursday’s decisions, which New Zealand may see in the orange light of the territory for Easter.
Last week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand was not ready to switch to orange as health systems remain under significant pressure.
The next inspection of traffic lights will take place on April 14.
On the likelihood of New Zealand turning orange next week, Planck told the Herald that the number of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations were going in the right direction.
“This is a gradual but consistent reduction in cases and hospitalizations.
“I’ve noticed that the number of intensive care units has also dropped significantly … this is also good news. I think there are generally signs that the pressure is dropping and I think it’s promising [for a] a potential transition to orange ”.
But Auckland University assistant professor Colin Tuquitong said that while the seven-day average was declining, the number of cases still hovered around 10,000, and officials should not rush New Zealand’s transition to orange.
He said second wave outbreaks are being seen, for example, in the UK, and the new XE option should be considered when considering changing settings.
“Overall I would be careful. I just think we haven’t overcome the threat of a pandemic yet, that we can reduce it to orange … overall, it’s probably premature. I’d like to see what the numbers look like next week . “
Epidemiologist at the University of Otago Professor Michael Baker said that across the country, including Auckland, there is still a lot of transmission.
“We generate new cases, new hospitalizations and probably new deaths every day so we can loosen control.
“I would say that for most of New Zealand, of course, for the South Island and many DHBs in the North Island, it would be too fast.”
Baker said his “big concern” about the country’s transition to orange is what it would mean for schools.
Under-red face masks are mandatory for school staff and students in grades 4 and above when they are indoors. Orange masks are encouraged but not required at school.
“Only a little over half of the children have been vaccinated, about 20 percent are fully vaccinated. So the only barrier you really have is wearing a mask, and once you switch to orange, it becomes optional.
“Kids need to go to school, and that’s very important, so we need to make schools safe.”