The Ministry of Health has reported 8150 Covid-19 community cases, 368 hospitalisations and 11 deaths today
The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 7308 - last Wednesday, it was 8024.
The ministry is also reporting New Zealand's first case of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 in a community case, without a clear link to the border, in Hawke’s Bay from a test result returned on May 10 this year.
"This Omicron subvariant is prevalent in the USA and has been detected at our border for many weeks - there have been 29 imported cases reported since April, so its movement into the community is not unexpected," the ministry says.
"Emerging data suggests BA.2.12.1 is marginally more transmissible than the subvariants currently circulating in Aotearoa-New Zealand. Our genomic surveillance (genomes and wastewater) remains in place to study any new variants and track their spread.
"The public health settings already in place to manage other Omicron variants are assessed to be appropriate for managing subvariants present in our community and no changes are required."
The Omicron BA.4 and/or BA.5 subvariants have also been detected in wastewater samples at Rosedale on Auckland’s North Shore and in Gisborne, the ministry says.
"The presence of these subvariants in the community is also not unexpected.
"The BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are being monitored by the World Health Organization; to date, compared to BA.2, there is clinical data to suggest an increased transmissibility but no data suggesting it causes more severe illness.
"As with all variants of Omicron, the public health advice remains the same. Getting your booster remains one of the best defences against COVID-19. Wear a mask indoors, stay home if you’re unwell, get tested if you’re symptomatic, and get vaccinated.
"The vast majority of recently sequenced cases in New Zealand continue to be of the Omicron BA.2 sub-variant, with small number of cases with the BA.1 sub-variant.
We are continuing to monitor transmission of all variants across the country and internationally.
"These latest detections emphasise the importance of continued wastewater testing, as increasingly ESR sequencing is able to refine what its testing detects. The sequencing can determine that either BA.4 or BA.5 subvariant or both may be present but is not able to be more specific at this stage."
The people whose deaths were reported today had died in the past 10 days, apart from one death on May 6 and one death on April 11.
The total number of publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 is 1086
New Zealand recorded 8435 new community cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Fifteen additional deaths of people with COVID-19 were reported.
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