COVID-19: Chris Hipkins' message to people throwing their positive test results in the bin

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says people throwing their positive coronavirus tests in the bin and not notifying the result are putting others at risk.

New Zealand on Wednesday recorded 22,454 community COVID cases in one day, just shy of the record 23,894 infections reported on Tuesday.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health said the majority of cases were through people reporting positive rapid antigen tests (RATs). 

The ministry said reporting positive RAT results remained "very important".

Hipkins on Wednesday responded to reports of people throwing positive RAT tests in the bin and not logging their results.

"If you're tossing your positive test result in the bin then you're actually placing the health and wellbeing of the people around you at risk," he told a COVID press conference.

"You're placing your workmates under a much greater degree of risk, you're potentially exposing people who you care about - who might be elderly or might be more vulnerable… to much greater risk as well."

Hipkins urged people who test positive to report the result and complete the self-isolation period - which reduces from 10 to seven days from Saturday. 

"It's not just about you - it's about the people around you," Hipkins said.

There are currently 742 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 19 in intensive care (ICU). The large majority of those hospitalisations (507) are in Auckland.

Hipkins understood some of the 19 people in ICU would be ready to transfer back onto a regular hospital ward once space was available.

"The ICUs aren't under enormous pressure," he said. "They're under pressure like the rest of the system is but that number in itself is not a number that's causing alarm."

Four people with COVID-19 died in New Zealand on Wednesday.