Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: 3,805 new cases, 16 deaths as sewage results reveal dominant strain

Professor Ian Town says there is still a lot to learn about Omicron and its variants. Video / Mark Mitchell

There are 3,805 new cases of Covid-19 and 466 people hospitalized with the virus.

A further 16 Covid-related deaths were reported today.

Eight people with Covid-19 are in intensive care.

One person reported dead today was from Northland, two from Bay of Plenty, one from Tairawhiti, two from Taranaki, one from Whanganui, two from Wellington area, two from Canterbury, one from the West Coast, three were from south Canterbury, one from the south.

One was in his 60s, two in his 60s, 10 in his 80s and three were over 90. Four were women and 12 were men.

“This is a very sad time for the whānau and friends of those who have passed away and our thoughts and condolences are with them,” the health ministry said in a statement.

There have been a total of 1,815 deaths confirmed to be attributable to Covid-19 to date (either as the underlying cause of death or as a contributing factor).

Over the past seven days, there have been an average of 11 deaths every day confirmed to be attributable to the virus.

Of today’s 3,805 cases, 144 people had recently traveled abroad.

Those hospitalized are in: Northland (19), Waitematā (59), Manukau counties (52), Auckland (58), Waikato (70), Bay of Plenty (20), Lakes (13), Hawke’s Bay (20 ), MidCentral (23), Whanganui (four), Taranaki (seven), Wairarapa (five), Capital & Coast (17), Hutt Valley (12), Nelson Marlborough (seven), Canterbury (50), West Coast (six ), South Canterbury (seven) and Southern (17).

The seven-day rolling average of cases is 3,876; last Friday it was 4581.

For hospitalizations, the moving average is 515, while last Friday it was 609.

Today’s figures come as new ESR sewage results have revealed that Omicron’s BA.5 variant has continued its takeover and is now by far the most dominant strain in New -Zealand.

Research from the Institute of Environmental Science and Research shows that BA.5, which was first identified in travelers in late April 2022, is now at 91% and has surpassed the previous Omicron BA.2 variant.

According to ESR data, BA.2 now represents only 3% of cases.

The results also show that BA.2.75 and BA.4.6 are still very rare in New Zealand at the moment.

The findings are part of the most recent Covid-19 genomics report published by the ESR in collaboration with Massey University, University of Auckland and University of Otago.

The recent sequencing of the ESR genome
The recent sequencing of the ESR genome

In the two weeks from July 30 to August 12, the ESR analyzed the genome of 1,394 cases.

There have been 18,000 cases tested this year.

In a post on Twitter, ESR genetics expert Professor Michael Bunce described the community genome data as “a strong surveillance network for Aotearoa”.

This month, New Zealand has seen the number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 slowly and steadily decline.

At this time last month, there were 797 people hospitalized with Covid-19. This number climbed to 836 on July 25 before steadily declining.

Yesterday there were 473 people in hospital, including 10 people in intensive care.

Those hospitalized yesterday were in: Northland (17), Waitematā (64), Manukau counties (54), Auckland (57), Waikato (74), Bay of Plenty (15), Lakes (12), Hawke’s Bay ( 22), MidCentral (21), Whanganui (five), Taranaki (nine), Tairāwhiti (one), Wairarapa (eight), Capital & Coast (14), Hutt Valley (11), Nelson Marlborough (seven), Canterbury (56 ), West Coast (four), South Canterbury (eight) and Southern (14).

The seven-day rolling average of cases was 3,928 yesterday; last Thursday it was 4750.
Of the 4,540 cases yesterday, 164 people had recently traveled abroad.

Sixteen Covid-related deaths were reported yesterday. One person was from Northland, four from the Auckland area, one from Bay of Plenty, one from Lakes, two from Hawke’s Bay, one from Taranaki, four from the Wellington area and two from Canterbury.

Three were in their 60s, three were 70, seven were 80 and three were over 90.

Today’s figures will be released by the Department of Health at 1 p.m. in a statement.

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