Clinical leads Dr Andrew Old, Dr Anthony Jordan and Dr Christine McIntosh at the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre are giving details on the Covid-19 response.Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall today acknowledged rapid antigen tests (RATs) should have been in use in Auckland earlier than they were, saying a backlog of PCR tests could have been avoided.
However, she rejected the idea the tests should have been in use across the country months earlier, saying PCR was the most appropriate test throughout 2020 and 2021.
Yesterday, 21,015 new community cases were reported with 773 people in hospital, and 16 in ICU.
The ministry also announced a change how deaths are reported, to align with methods in the UK and other countries, which brings New Zealand's official Covid-19 death count to 91.
The number of cases in Auckland hospitals was higher than expected, but numbers were relatively stable in recent days, suggesting the region may be hitting a peak.
There have however been warnings of a potential second peak as other regions experience their own surge.