Marlborough Express

Covid cases rise again


Covid-19 cases are once more ‘‘gradually rising’’ in Te Tauihu as the region adjusts to living with the disease in the community.

But, while modelling suggests the increase could continue into January, it’s looking to be more of a dome than a spike, Te Whatu Ora Health NZ Nelson Marlboroug­h chief medical officer Dr Nick Baker said.

In the week ending October 23, Nelson Marlboroug­h recorded 471 new cases, up from 453 the previous week. A month ago, in the week ending September 26, there were 280 cases.

There have been 71 deaths associated with Covid in the top of the south.

Nationally, there were 16,399 new Covid cases in the past week – up from 14,311 last week.

Baker said the ‘‘gradual increase’’ being seen in Te Tauihu meant daily case numbers had gone from being 50 to 70 a day, to between 80 and 100.

‘‘Today’s figure is 110,’’ he said on Wednesday.

The region continued to see two to six patients in hospital with Covid each day, though it was more often incidental rather than the main cause of admission.

The increase was expected, given that the Government had removed the traffic light system and society had largely returned to normal, he said.

‘‘It’s inevitable that we will get a bit more Covid.’’

It was yet to been seen what impact new subvariant­s would have on case numbers, he said.

‘‘There’s been so many cases of Covid over time that it’s been able to evolve to dodge immunity.’’

It was fortunate that restrictio­ns had eased heading into spring and summer, but people did need to factor Covid into any travel plans in case they caught it while away from home and had to isolate for seven days.

That included having contingenc­y plans such as taking extra medication­s from home in case you were away longer than expected, he said.

‘‘Just to be ready for the unexpected . . . have a plan B for your travels.’’

While restrictio­ns had eased, people should still continue to be cautious about social distancing and consider wearing masks in high risk places – such as on flights, Baker said.

Covid was a new disease the community was learning to live with, so the community needed to adjust and expect to see more sick days impacting businesses.

‘‘It’s added to the burden of things that might keep people away from work.’’

He urged anyone who did get sick to check if they were eligible for antivirals and to take them if they met the criteria.

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