North Taranaki Midweek

40,000 in region have had Covid


About a third of the Taranaki population have had Covid, the region’s medical officer of health says.

But the number could be higher.

On Friday there were 1395 active cases in the region and 21 people in Taranaki were in hospital with the virus.

The latest figures show that more than 41,400 people out of a population of around 122,700 have had Covid, Te Whatu Ora Taranaki medical officer of health Dr Catherine Jackson said.

‘‘It’s important to note that this is the number of reported cases only and we anticipate that the actual infection rate is higher, as we know many people do not report positive test results or test for Covid-19 at all.’’

Most of those cases have happened this year with the arrival of the Omicron variant.

Jackson wants everyone to report the results of their rapid antigen test when they have them.

‘‘This is essential for letting know your GP and the Covid Hub know you have Covid, so you can quickly access medical and welfare support if you need it.’’

Results can be recorded online through My Covid Record or by calling the helpline, 0800 222 478.

Recent modelling suggests from August Covid-19 cases may remain high, and could be above 200 a day until September, Jackson said.

‘‘Part of the reason for the increase in Covid-19 cases is because of the BA.5 variant in circulatio­n, which is more transmissi­ble than previous variants. The winter season and conditions also make it easier for many respirator­y illnesses to spread.’’

In Taranaki, there have been 55 deaths with Covid either as the underlying cause of death or as a contributi­ng factor.

The number had passed 60 but changes in the way the Ministry of Health reports deaths brought the number down to 55.

The focus on reporting total Covid deaths has moved to cases where Covid was the underlying or a contributo­ry cause of a death, Public Health Agency Deputy Director-General Dr Andrew Old said. Those were deaths that could be wholly or partially attributed to the virus.

Current visitor restrictio­ns at Taranaki Base and Hāwera hospitals will remain in place due to high volumes of patients and continued clinical staff shortages from sickness.

The visitor policy includes one visitor or support person per patient at a time and no admittance of visitors who are unwell.

The age restrictio­n on visitors under 16 has been removed and hospital authoritie­s have asked people respect the visiting hours of 2pm-8pm.

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