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Opposition National MP Simon Bridges, a former party leader, and backbench Labour MP Anahila Kanongataá-Suisuiki have tested positive for covid-19 with a record 696 cases in hospital.

Bridges is National’s spokesperson for finance and infrastructure.

Kanongataá-Suisuiki said in a Facebook post that she had tested positive on a day 3 test of home isolation, after her daughter had contracted the coronavirus.

In a social media post, she said she had lost her sense of smell and taste, but was “feeling ok”.

Last week, Environment Minister David Parker reported testing positive, and said he had minor symptoms and was “not feeling too bad”.

He had not been in the Beehive since the previous week, so was not with other MPs or staff while infectious, he said.

17,522 new cases
The Ministry of Health reported 17,522 new cases of covid-19 in the community today and 696 people in hospital.

The seven-day rolling average of community cases is 17,921, up from 17,272 yesterday.

“Care needs to be taken when interpreting daily reported cases, which are expected to continue to fluctuate,” the ministry said.

“This means that the seven-day rolling average of cases gives a more reliable indicator of testing trends.”

More than 47,000 rapid antigen test (RAT) results were reported yesterday, including 16,625 positive results.

Unvaccinated four times over-represented
There were 192,492 active cases confirmed in the last 10 days and not yet classified as recovered.

Of the 696 in hospital, 13 are in ICU. The average age of those in hospital is 57.

The ministry said: “While still early in the omicron outbreak, the figures show that, based on the data available, unvaccinated people are four times over-represented in the current hospitalisation data.

“Just 3 percent of eligible people aged 12 and over in New Zealand have had no doses of the vaccine. However, of the eligible people in Northland and Auckland hospitals with covid-19, 13 percent have had no doses of the vaccine.”

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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