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Source: Te Whatu Ora Taranaki

The latest COVID-19 figures show that more 41,400 people, approximately a third of the Taranaki population, have had COVID-19, but this number could be higher according to Dr Catherine Jackson, Te Whatu Ora Taranaki medical officer of health.
“It’s important to note that this is the number of reported cases only and we anticipate that the actual infection rate is higher, as we know many people do not report positive test results or test for COVID-19 at all.
“We urge everyone who tests for COVID-19 to report the results of their rapid antigen test (RAT). This is essential for letting know your GP and the COVID Hub know you have COVID so you can quickly access medical and welfare support if you need it. This is especially important for people who are at high risk of getting severe COVID-19 who may be eligible for medicines they can take at home that can reduce the severity of illness and help them to avoid being admitted to hospital.”
Results can be recorded online through My Covid Record or by calling the helpline, 0800 222 478.
Dr Jackson says with a month left of winter we can still expect to see COVID-19 cases and other respiratory illnesses in circulation.
“Recent modelling suggests that from August COVID-19 cases may remain high, and could be above 200 a day until September. This is just one scenario that could happen – again, testing and reporting COVID-19 results helps us better understand how we are tracking and what may come next.
“Part of the reason for the increase in COVID-19 cases is because of the BA.5 variant in circulation, which is more transmissible than previous variants. The winter season and conditions also make it easier for many respiratory illnesses to spread.”
The most important thing everyone in the community can do is keep up with healthy habits.
“The more layers of protection we put in place – particularly vaccinations, but also mask wearing, washing your hands, social distancing and staying home from work and school if you’re māuiui/sick – the more we can reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses,” says Dr Jackson.
Anyone who needs a flu or COVID-19 vaccination should visit their pharmacy, Māori health provider, drop into the New Plymouth and Hāwera Vaccination Centres (open every day), or one the many Winter Wellness Clinics happening every week in communities throughout Taranaki.