There were 13,606 new community cases of Covid-19 announced in New Zealand today.
There were five people in intensive care units and 263 people in hospital, the Ministry of Health said.
The new cases included 9262 in Auckland, 218 in Northland, 1154 in Waikato, 690 in Bay of Plenty, 185 in the Lakes DHB area, 106 in Hawke's Bay, 123 in MidCentral, 28 in Whanganui, 52 in Taranaki, 48 in the Tairāwhiti DHB, 18 in Wairarapa, 413 in Capital and Coast, 130 in Hutt Valley, 176 in Nelson Marlborough, 469 in Canterbury, 20 in South Canterbury, 505 in Southern, and three in the West Coast.
A further six cases were classified as unknown.
The seven-day rolling average of Covid community cases is 5078.
Just 19% of today's new community cases were picked up by PCR testing (2613). The other 81% were picked up by RATs (10,933).
There were also six new cases detected at the border.
The ministry said 52,808 active community cases had been identified in the past 21 days.
Growth in hospitalisations not unexpected: ministry
The cases in hospital include 92 in Auckland hospital, one in Northland, 44 in North Shore hospital, 89 in Middlemore, eight in Tauranga, three in Taranaki and 26 in Waikato.
The average age of people in hospital is 54.
The growth in hospitalisations and patients in ICU was not unexpected, had been planned for and was another reminder that vaccination was the best defence against Covid-19, the ministry said.
"With cases escalating in the community the Ministry of Health is urging all New Zealanders who are due their booster to get it as soon as possible in order to reduce your chance of serious illness and hospitalisation."
There were 31,217 booster doses administered yesterday, but 30.5 per cent of people who are currently due their booster have not yet had it, the ministry said.
"We urge those people to make a plan to get boosted as soon as they can."
Protesters who have been in Wellington are now beginning to show up to hospitals with Covid, the ministry said.
"We are also beginning to see people who have attended the protest at Parliament, a location of interest and potential super spreader event, showing up in hospitals around the country after returning home.
"We advise all those currently at the protest, or who have been at the protest, who are displaying cold and flu symptoms to get a test and isolate until they receive their result."
Rapid Antigen Testing
RATs are now the most common Covid test being used in New Zealand at community testing centres and by GPs.
"They will make the decision on which test is most appropriate for you. PCR testing is being reserved for those people who most need it," the ministry said.
People are urged to only get tested if they have Covid-like symptoms.
"Please be patient with staff at testing centres, and GP clinics. They are doing their best to cope with high demand for testing."
People who use a RAT will get their results within 20 minutes, which will help identify cases sooner, reduce testing wait times and minimise disruption to business and ensure critical services and infrastructure workforce can continue operating, the ministry said.
"It is very important to the overall response that people self-report positive results for RATs through My Covid Record, so we understand the size of the outbreak," it said.
Most people, including children, will be able to recover from Covid-19 at home, with their family or others they live with, like they normally would with a cold or flu, the ministry said.
It said people should call their GP or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if they or a family member becomes unwell, but should stay at home.
"However, if you or a family member becomes very unwell, such as like having difficulty breathing or chest pains, call 111 immediately. The ambulance will be free," the ministry said.
"Hospital emergency departments are very busy, so please only go if it's an emergency."
The vaccination status of those in hospital in the Northern region include 23 people - or 12 per cent - of people who are not vaccinated.
There are also 3 cases or 1.5 per cent who have either had one Pfizer dose or it is less than seven days since their second dose, while 82 cases or 42 per cent are fully vaccinated with two doses.
Under Phase 3 of the Omicron response there is no requirement for non-critical workers to have a Covid-19 test before they come to work, whether a RAT or PCR.
"Employers who are not part of the Close Contact Exemption Scheme, are reminded that they should not be requesting this of their non-critical workers," they said.
There were 31,217 Covid vaccine booster doses given out yesterday along with 445 first doses and 1167 second doses.
Daily numbers are rapidly escalating now rapid antigen tests (RATs) are revealing greater transmission in the community.
There has now been 4,062,314 Covid vaccine first doses given out, reaching 96.5 per cent of the population.
Additionally, 3,999,932 or 95 per cent of the eligible population have had their second dose and 2,306,762 or 69.5 per cent have had their booster shot.
Among Māori, 194,470 or 58.5 per cent of those eligible have had their booster shot and 498,008 or 87 per cent have had two jabs.
Vaccination rates for all DHBs
Northland DHB: first dose (90.3%); second dose (87.8%); boosted (68.2%)
Auckland Metro DHB: first dose (97.3%); second dose (96.1%); boosted (66.4%)
Waikato DHB: first dose (95.3%); second dose (93.5%); boosted (65.9%)
Bay of Plenty DHB: first dose (95.3%); second dose (93.3%); boosted (66.7%)
Lakes DHB: first dose (93.6%); second dose (91.4%); boosted (67.3%)
MidCentral DHB: first dose (96.8%); second dose (95.1%); boosted (72.1%)
Tairāwhiti DHB: first dose (93.4%); second dose (90.7%); boosted (67.9%)
Whanganui DHB: first dose (92.4%); second dose (90.4%); boosted (72.7%)
Hawke's Bay DHB: first dose (97.2%); second dose (95.1%); boosted (70.4%)
Taranaki DHB: first dose (94.8%); second dose (93.1%); boosted (67%)
Wairarapa DHB: first dose (96.7%); second dose (95%); boosted (74.2%)
Capital & Coast DHB: first dose (98.7%); second dose (97.8%); boosted (77.2%)
Hutt Valley DHB: first dose (96.9%); second dose (95.6%); boosted (73.9%)
Nelson Marlborough DHB: first dose (96.8%); second dose (95.3%); boosted (75.6%)
West Coast DHB: first dose (93.1%); second dose (91.1%); boosted (73.3%)
Canterbury DHB: first dose (99.8%); second dose (98.6%); boosted (71.5%)
South Canterbury DHB: first dose (95.4%); second dose (94.1%); boosted (74.5%)
Southern DHB: first dose (97.9%); second dose (96.6%); boosted (73.9%)
There were 31,016 PCR tests undertaken in the past 24 hours with the rolling average over the past seven days now 28,849.
The PCR testing positivity rate in the past 24 hours is 28 per cent.