NZ Local News

Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: 1709 new cases in the community, 11 further deaths reported today

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has indicated a move away from the traffic light system. Photo / Alex Burton

A further 11 people have died in New Zealand with Covid-19, the Ministry of Health reported today.

There were also 1709 new cases in the community – of these, 176 were reported as reinfections.

Over the past seven days there have been 760 new cases at the border.

On Friday, the ministry reported 1800 new cases in the community, 10 deaths and 269 people in hospital with the virus.

The death toll of those confirmed as attributable to Covid-19 increased to 1910 and the daily rolling average of deaths was six.

The ministry recently updated the way they deliver Covid updates, bringing daily 1pm statements to a halt.

The updates are now only available from Monday to Friday, and limited details are provided over the weekend – in particular, the figures of those in hospital are not provided.

On Friday, the weekly rolling average of new infections dipped under 2000 for the first time since the Omicron outbreak started in February, moving from 2855 the previous Friday to 1948.

This comes as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced last week that after living with the traffic light system for nearly a year, it was time to look at whether current settings were still “fit for purpose”.

It comes as the country sees seven-day rolling averages of new infections tumble by 1000 cases a week and hospitalisations fall by 100 a week.

Ardern said the Government was not just looking at a review of the traffic light system but at “broader settings more generally”.

“We have a regular process of looking at what our current case numbers are.

“We’ve been living with the traffic light system for upwards to a year now – now is the time for us to look at whether all those settings are fit for purpose. We include masks in that,” Ardern said.

The settings would be reviewed in light of the changing seasons modifying the risk profile of the pandemic.

“As we come out of winter we will be looking at whether those settings are fit for purpose now,” she said.

It was revealed also disability providers had been emailed for feedback on possible changes to mask mandates.

Health providers have voiced their concerns about the impact of the proposed changes, and that rushed consultation could lead to the voices of disabled people not being properly heard.

An email sent to disability support providers by the Ministry of Disabled People this week asked for feedback within 24 hours on a proposal to “significantly narrow” where masks had to be worn.

The requirement for visitors to wear a mask would only extend to primary care, urgent care, hospitals, aged residential care, and disability-related residential care.

Other health services such as dentists, physiotherapists, optometrists, audiologists, counselling, home-based care and clinical psychologists would become exempt.

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