National | Māori Covid-19 Cases

Covid cases continue to drop but caution still advised

Health officials say the sustained drop in reported cases of Covid-19 is an "encouraging trend" as Aotearoa moves out of the winter months.

1793 new cases were reported today, the lowest level of cases since the Omicron variant began circulating the community in February. 260 people are in hospital, 5 of whom are in Intensive Care Units and a further 6 covid-19-related deaths.

“By each one of us doing the basics well and sticking to the public health measures, we have made a difference,” said Te Whatu Ora – Health NZ interim medical director Dr Pete Watson.

“This year, Covid-19, influenza, as well as the increase in other winter illnesses, has stretched capacity for healthcare but we are now seeing encouraging signs now that spring is upon us.”

Influenza rates are at "very low levels" following a peak in June, with Dr Watson saying no cases were detected in Auckland in the last week of August.

Te Aka Whai Ora – Māori Health Authority interim chief medical officer Dr Rawiri McKree Jansen says the decline in Covid cases is important for Māori.

“We have a higher rate of hospitalisation, we have a higher rate of mortality as a result of Covid-19. To make that clear, the hospitality rate for Māori is 2.3 times compared to non-Māori, and the mortality is twice the rate. We have to acknowledge all of those whānau who have suffered the loss of somebody during the pandemic."

Keep up with all vaccinations

McKree Jansen also acknowledged the mahi Māori health providers contributed during the pandemic, in particular in keeping Māori communities safe.

“The public health measures we talk about – social distancing, mask-wearing, and vaccinations have been a really important part of our total covid response. Māori providers have stepped up in terms of getting testing done, getting vaccinations done and getting manaaki and support for whānau.”

He says, however, it is important that whānau do not become complacent as the numbers continue to drop.

“If you have symptoms, please get a test and, if you could record that test, that would be great. If you’re not well please stay at home, please keep up to date with your vaccinations, and please use masks as appropriate.”

McKree Jansen says whānau should keep up to date with all vaccinations, not only against covid-19, including for measles, mumps and rubella.

“Right now the rate is very low, it is deeply concerning. To every extent possible, if primary care providers can get focused on lifting that immunisation rate, that would be great.”