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The number of Covid patients in hospital continues to rise as 7612 new community cases are reported today.
The Ministry of Health also reported 22 more deaths related to Covid.
Five of the deaths reported today were in their 60s, two in their 70s, seven in their 80s and eight in their 90s. Nine were women and 13 men.
Five were from the Auckland area, two from Waikato, one from Bay of Plenty, three from MidCentral, one from Whanganui, four from the Wellington area and six from Canterbury/West Coast.
Today’s deaths include one person who died in March, two deaths in April, two deaths in May and two deaths in June, which will be reported after the cause of death investigation is complete.
There are 797 people hospitalized with the virus, including 20 in intensive care.
Patients will be treated in Northland (27), Waitematā (135), Counties Manukau (54), Auckland (91), Waikato (64), Bay of Plenty (43), Lakes (19), Hawke’s Bay (32), MidCentral ( 31), Whanganui (20), Taranaki (13), Tairāwhiti (six), Wairarapa (seven), Capital & Coast/Hutt (55), Nelson Marlborough (13), Canterbury/West Coast (138), South Canterbury (10) and South (39).
The median age of hospitalized Covid-19 cases is 64 years.
The seven-day moving average of hospitalizations is 753. Last week it was 582 this time.
Today’s seven-day moving average of cases is 9689 – compared to 9281 cases at the same time last week.
There are currently 67,774 active cases of the virus in Germany.
The ministry urged people to maintain good health habits to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and winter diseases like the flu.
“Simple measures can make a big difference, so we encourage people to wear a mask, social distance, wash or sanitize your hands regularly, and stay home if you’re feeling unwell.”
Three antiviral treatments to fight Covid-19 are now available to more Kiwis as health officials try to ease pressure on overwhelmed hospitals.
Yesterday there were 6223 new cases in the community and a further 22 deaths were reported.
There were 733 people hospitalized with the virus, including 16 in intensive care.
Pharmac has expanded access to three Covid-19 treatments as Omicron second wave arrives and wards fill with sick people.
RNZ reported that the agency’s chief medical officer, Dr. David Hughes said the antivirals Paxlovid, Lagevrio and Veklury reduced the risk of serious illness, which would help ease the burden on the healthcare system.
The change applies to 400,000 people at risk of serious illness from Covid-19, including people aged 75 and over and people who have already been in intensive care because of the virus.
But GPs are concerned that the uptake of antiviral treatments could result in more people with comorbidities requiring hospital treatment.
The Chairman of the General Practice Owners Association, Dr. Tim Malloy, told RNZ that despite good intentions, the treatments come with real risks.
“Our biggest concern in basic services is of course that this could create even more work.”
Another risk was that some of the antiviral formulas might interact poorly with other common drugs, he said.
It’s important that patients with comorbidities don’t change their current treatments to take the antivirals, Malloy said.
There are also concerns about declining vaccination coverage.
Hauora Tairāwhiti, previously the Tairawhiti district health department, advocates that people get vaccinated or refreshed.
“We are gradually seeing a decrease in vaccinations, which is not ideal as we expect a gradual increase in transmission due to people’s behavior changes, for example older people having more contact with people who have the virus when the borderline for Aotearoa is opening up more and increasing social mixing.”
“Now more than ever is the time to get vaccinated or boosted if you are eligible, wear a mask when you are out and stay at home if you are unwell.”
Hospitals were expected to come under even more pressure over the next few months as RSV and other respiratory illnesses return to pre-pandemic levels.
Over the weekend, the ministry again issued a reminder that people should wear masks to stop the spread of Covid, saying it is one of the best measures to reduce transmission of contagious respiratory diseases.
“Even if you are fully vaccinated or have had Covid-19, it is important to continue to wear a face mask to protect you, your whānau and your community.”
Masks must be worn on public transport, at transport hubs such as airports and bus stations, in public facilities such as museums and libraries, when visiting health services and in retail stores.
Masking was particularly important among more vulnerable people, especially in elderly care.