A coding error led to an undercount of hospitalized Covid cases

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke to the media after the Department of Health today admitted to underestimating the number of people hospitalized with Covid-19.

In a tweet, the ministry said this resulted in an increase of more than 5,000 people hospitalized since the start of the pandemic, from 14,043 to 19,476.

The ministry said this was due to a “coding issue”.

The ministry said the counting error had “no impact” on the advice it provided on Covid-19 parameters. Indeed, daily hospitalization data, captured by a different system, was used to inform ministry advice.

Ardern said she was not properly briefed on the matter but assured the figures had no impact on government decisions made at the time.

Regarding Covid-19 case numbers, Ardern said modeling predicted a surge of cases similar to what is happening now.

It has been predicted that there could be a small increase but well below the Omicron wave at the start of the year.

The government was not currently considering easing or increasing restrictions, including the seven-day isolation period, she said.

At current levels of restrictions, the country was still in a period of waves of Covid-19.

The country was in a much better situation than a year ago, being highly vaccinated and having antiviral drugs, she said.

Ardern said she could not say when all current restrictions will be lifted.

The Covid-19 Outbreak Preparedness Notice, which gives the government the power to implement Covid-19 restrictions and rules – such as mask mandates – is due to expire on October 20 unless it is not renewed before that date.

Cabinet had considered letting it expire three months ago when it decided to scrap the traffic light system, but opted to renew it afterwards to allow it to continue requiring masks in healthcare settings. He is expected to decide today whether to renew it again – prompting the Prime Minister to say she is confident Covid-19 is ‘likely to continue to significantly disrupt essential government and business activities in New -Zealand”.

Comments are closed.