New Zealand has recorded another five COVID-19 deaths, taking the country’s death toll to 66.
On Friday, health officials confirmed the deaths, four of which occurred in hospitals.
The deaths include two in South Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital and one in Tauranga Hospital who were admitted for unrelated conditions but tested positive for COVID-19.
A fourth patient, in Hamilton’s Waikato Hospital, died of an unrelated medical condition but tested positive, as did a person in Dunedin who was receiving pallative care.
The deaths come as New Zealand’s Omicron outbreak worsens, with record hospitalisation and intensive care numbers.
There are now 562 people in hospital with COVID-19, up from 503 a day earlier and including 11 in intensive care.
Officials reported 22,527 cases — just down from Thursday’s all-time high of 23,183.
Public health experts believe the peak of the Omicron wave will occur later this month, meaning hospitalisation are likely to continue to grow for some time.