New Zealand’s Ministry of Health has reported 19,542 new cases of covid-19 in the community and 24 more deaths today.
The ministry said eight people had died with covid-19 yesterday, while a further 16 people had died in the past three weeks.
“Local public health authorities have notified these deaths to the ministry in the past 24 hours as part of changes to the reporting of deaths announced last week. Delays to reporting can be associated with people dying with, rather than of covid-19, and covid being discovered after they have died,” the statement said.
- READ MORE: Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins tests positive for coronavirus
- Other NZ covid outbreak reports
The minister in charge of New Zealand’s covid-19 response has also now himself tested positive for the coronavirus.
Tweeting an image of a rapid antigen test, Chris Hipkins said: “The faint line seems out of keeping with how I currently feel!
“Day 7 of isolation and now it’s my turn. So I’ll be clocking off for another 7 days. Take care out there everyone.”
The faint line seems out of keeping with how I currently feel! Day 7 of isolation and now it’s my turn. So I’ll be clocking off for another 7 days. Take care out there everyone. pic.twitter.com/9wt8u7oe3o
— Chris Hipkins (@chrishipkins) March 15, 2022
Hipkins would normally have fronted today’s covid-19 update, but the media conference has been cancelled for today.
MPs testing positive
Hipkins is the latest of several MPs to have tested positive, including Environment Minister David Parker, Police Minister Poto Williams, opposition National Party leader Christopher Luxon and National MP Simon Bridges.
In the ministry’s report today, a person in their 40s was one of the people with Covid-19 whose death was reported today, while another person was in their 50s. The others include four in their 60s, three in their 70s, eight in their 80s and six in their 90s.
Eleven were women and twelve were men. The ministry said the average age was 79 and this had been increasing over the last week.
Eight of the 24 deaths reported today were people who died at aged residential care facilities.
The total number of deaths of people with covid-19 is now 141.
The rolling seven-day average of deaths over the past seven days is seven, up from four yesterday.
The ministry said the trend of increasing numbers of deaths was sadly not unexpected.
“As has occurred with omicron overseas, while covid-19 cases are usually seen in higher numbers among younger people early in the outbreak, over time the more severe and fatal consequences of the virus fall disproportionately on our older and more vulnerable populations.”
There are 971 people in hospital, 21 of whom are in ICU. The average age of the people with covid-19 in hospital is 57.
There were also 17 new cases identified at the border.
Yesterday there were 21,616 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the community and two more deaths. There were 960 people in hospital.
Asia Pacific Report adds: Covid-19 modeller Professor Michael Plank was quoted in news reports as indicating the ethnicity of cases could increase the number of severe cases.
Māori make up about 17 percent of the 5 million population, but 20 percent of all cases, and 25 percent of those hospitalised, reports the New Zealand Herald.
Pasifika make up 8 percent of the population, but 21 percent of all cases and 38 percent of those hospitalised.
This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.