6,223 new cases; two people in 40s among latest Covid deaths

By Kelvin McDonald

There are 6,223 new community cases and 733 hospitalisations today, including 16 people in intensive care.

A further 22 people have died, all in the past four days. These deaths include two people in their 40s and one person in their 50s.

The seven-day rolling average of community cases is 9,803 today. Last Sunday, it was 9,000. There are currently 70,762 active cases of the virus, up from 62,960 this time last week.

Ten of today's reported deaths were women and 12 were men. They also included one person in their 60s, five in their 70s, eight in their 80s and five people aged over 90.

They were from Auckland, Waikato, Lakes, Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki, Whanganui, MidCentral, Wellington, Canterbury/West Coast, and Southern DHB regions.

The seven-day rolling average of reported deaths is now 22. A total of 1,827 people have died with the virus.

The Health Ministry says they are "closely monitoring the continued increase in Covid-19 positive cases and hospitalisations as part of our ongoing review and updating of the response to the current community outbreak".

From tomorrow, Monday 18 July, the ministry says access criteria for three antiviral treatments for Covid-19 (Paxlovid, Lagevrio and Veklury) will be widened to include a wider group of people at risk of severe illness from Covid-19 infection. This includes all people aged 75 years and over and those who have been admitted previously to an intensive care unit directly as a result of Covid-19.

The antivirals, used in the community and hospitals to treat people with early Covid-19 at risk of severe illness, reduce the risk of severe illness, the ministry says.