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Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: Latest update from Department of Health as new cases fall, deaths and intensive care rates rise

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Nearly 100 people have died with Covid in the past three days as this week promises to be the pandemic’s deadliest yet.

Since Monday, the Ministry of Health has announced the death of 99 people, yesterday proving one of the darkest days of the epidemic with 45 deaths alone.

And despite the drop of more than 1,000 cases in the community in a week, those needing the highest level of hospital care are on the rise, worsening day by day to match rates not seen since March.

Health officials warn the situation is not expected to improve for months and the Covid death toll will continue to rise.

The Department of Health will give the latest update on the Omicron outbreak in a statement at 1 p.m.

Yesterday there were 8,730 new cases of Covid-19 and 808 people in hospital. Among them, 25 were in intensive care.

It comes as outgoing Chief Health Officer Dr Ashley Bloomfield gave his latest update on Covid-19 yesterday, saying the worst-case scenario modellers described at the start of the wave was now ‘highly unlikely’ .

“What is clear is that the worst-case scenario our modelers suggested a few weeks ago – with up to 1,200 occupied beds and more than 20,000 cases per day – is now highly unlikely,” Bloomfield said. .

Although hospitalization figures could reach 1,000 occupied beds, the new modeling showed the country was approaching a peak of around 850 – a point almost reached last weekend.

But he warned that we will continue to see significant Covid deaths until cases come down.

People who weren’t fully vaccinated were six times more likely to die from Covid, Bloomfield said, adding that getting a boost was vital.

Half of the Covid-related deaths of people aged 20 to 60 could have been prevented if they had been strengthened, he said.

There are now 1,427 deaths confirmed to be attributable to Covid-19, either as the underlying cause of death or as a contributing factor. Most of these deaths have occurred within the past six months.

Middlemore Hospital chief executive Pete Watson said authorities were working hard to deal with increased pressure on hospitals due to Covid and other winter illnesses. He expected this pressure to continue across the country for months.

Experts now believe New Zealand’s first Omicron wave may have left people with more immunity than previously thought.

It was also possible that the level of infection across the country during the first wave was higher than expected.

BA.5 now accounts for 61% of the country’s Covid cases. Health officials expect the variant to fully take over all other strains in the community by the end of August.