18,833 new community cases, 597 people in hospital, five deaths

The number of new community cases of Covid-19 has dropped below the 20,000 mark for the first time in several days, but the Health Ministry is still urging caution as it expects numbers to "jump around".

The ministry has reported 18,833 new community cases of Covid-19 today, with 597 people in hospitals, including 10 people who need intensive care.

It said 9789 cases reported today were in Auckland, which recorded more than 13,000 cases yesterday, with health authorities in New Zealand's largest city hoping the Omicron wave had peaked.

The rest of the cases were in the Northland (483), Waikato (1,575), Bay of Plenty (1,222), Lakes (459), Hawke's Bay (327), MidCentral (417), Whanganui (95), Taranaki (264), Tairāwhiti (153), Wairarapa (94), Capital and Coast (1,308), Hutt Valley (576), Nelson Marlborough (258), Canterbury (1,170), South Canterbury (57), Southern (558) and West Coast (17) DHBs.

The ministry has also reported the deaths of five people with the coronavirus. Two were being cared for at North Shore Hospital, two at Middlemore Hospital and one at Auckland City Hospital.

Three of the patients were in their 80s, one was in their 70s and one was in their 60s. Three were male and two were female.

While the number of community cases have fallen from the 22,527 cases reported earlier, the Ministry said caution was still needed

"We are expecting cases to jump around, and are continuing to see increases in Covid-19 related hospitalisations.

"Additionally, public health officials consider that one possible reason for the decrease in cases could be related to people not self-reporting Rapid Antigen Test results.

"It is essential we have has much information as possible to inform public health decision-making."

The ministry said 17,660 of the positive results recorded today came from RATs, while 1173 came from PCR tests.

There were also seven cases reported at the border.

There have now been 206,827 cases of the coronavirus in New Zealand since the pandemic began.

There were 16,248 vaccine booster doses given yesterday, as well as 255 first doses; 725 second doses; 84 third primary doses; 1,243 paediatric first doses and 241 paediatric second doses.