North Taranaki Midweek

Region’s Covid case numbers increasing


Since the beginning of October,the number of Covid cases in Taranaki has been on the rise and they are expected to continue to increase over the next few weeks.

From a seven-day rolling average of 26 Covid cases a day on September 24, the number has risen to a seven-day rolling average of 69 on November 23.

Daily numbers peaked on March 28 with 588 cases.

As at November 20, 48,038 people in Taranaki have had the virus and 83 people have died from Covid. There have been four deaths since October 16.

In the week ended November 20, there were 445 new cases in Taranaki and 446 active cases in the region.

This was up from the month before, when in the week of October 16 there were 310 active cases in Taranaki and 312 new cases that week.

Anecdotal evidence suggests people are now coming down with the virus for the second time.

Dr Neil DeWet, medical officer of health for Taranaki, said the number of people reported with the virus has been trending upwards since October in Taranaki and nationally.

But the actual numbers were likely to be a bit higher, as not everyone reports a positive result.

During the past four weeks, the average number of reported cases per day in Taranaki had ranged between 50 and 70 people, DeWet said.

‘‘This increase has been expected and, for now, measures such as expanded access to antiviral medicines and vaccinatio­ns provide additional protection against serious illness from Covid-19 and so will hold us in good stead.

‘‘The eligible age for a second booster vaccinatio­n has been lowered for Mā ori and Pacific peoples to 40 years and over. Antivirals also remain free for eligible people including Mā ori aged 50 years and over who have Covid-19.’’

At November 20, there were two patients in hospital with the virus, he said. ‘‘We have remained steady with between two and four inpatients with Covid-19 over the last two weeks.’’

Dr Jonathan Jarman, medical officer of health for Taranaki, said wastewater detection also supported an increase in Covid-19 circulatin­g in the community.

Like the rest of Aotearoa New Zealand, Taranaki experience­d a sharp increase in case numbers from mid-February 2022 through to late March 2022, associated with the national omicron outbreak, Jarman said.

‘‘Our peak in reported cases was at the end of March. We then had a smaller peak in the middle of July.’’

Te Whatu Ora Taranaki and its cross sector partners continue to monitor variation in reported Covid-19 cases, wastewater, hospital admissions and other indicators to maintain preparedne­ss and respond appropriat­ely.

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