There are 6152 new Covid-19 community cases in New Zealand, the Ministry of Health has announced on Thursday.
The numbers were reported over the last 24 hours.
663 people are in hospital with the virus, 41 less than Wednesday.
Fourteen people are in intensive care or a high dependency unit, three more than Wednesday.
Forty-nine more people with the virus have died, the ministry is reporting today.
Of those people, 13 were from the Auckland region, eight were from Canterbury, seven were from Wellington, four were from Whanganui, three were from Bay of Plenty, two each were from Northland, Lakes, Taranaki, South Canterbury and Southern, one each was from Waikato, Hawke's Bay, MidCentral and Nelson Marlborough.
Two were in their 20s, one was in their 40s, two were in their 50s, four were in their 60s, 11 were in their 70s, 16 were in their 80s and 13 were aged over 90.
Of these people, 23 were women and 26 were men.
Case rates are continuing to trend lower across the country for the second week running, Public Health Agency Deputy Director-General Andrew Old said in a press conference on Thursday.
Case rates had dropped 18% in the last week to July 31.
Cases amongst those aged over 65 had dropped by 21% in the last week.
Old said both of these falls were higher and more accelerated than the previous week.
He said this, along with testing of healthcare workers and ongoing wastewater surveillance, supports the conclusion that for now, at least, the country is seeing a true decline in community transmission of the virus.
"It's encouraging that this decline is occurring despite the increasing proportion of sequenced samples being the more transmissible BA.5 Omicron subvariant, which in the latest data is up to 76% of all samples now."
However, Covid-19 hospitalisations and deaths lag behind any decrease in cases, Old pointed out.
He explained in the week to July 31, the same week case rates dropped, the Covid-19 hospitalisation rate rose by 35%."
Old said the bulk of the country had seen hospitalisations continuing to increase. He added it's the fifth week in a row there's been a national increase in the Covid-19 hospitalisation rate.
He said the latest modelling showed the country was tracking at the lower end of what was expected from a BA.5 wave this winter.
The falling case rates suggest the country may have reached a peak slightly earlier than expected, Old said.
He also said peak hospitalisations will be at the lower end of what was modelled. While the country could still reach more than a 1000 occupied beds, it's tracking closer to a peak of about 850 occupied beds.