Hawke’s Bay Hospital is prepared for a Covid or another infectious disease outbreak, but is reminding the region’s population to stay up to date with their Covid vaccinations.

As of November 16, there were 157 reported active cases of Covid-19 in the community. Of these, 10 were in Hawke’s Bay Hospital. The seven-day average for hospitalisations was 5.9.

With cruise ship season, and summer beckoning crowds to the region, BayBuzz asked Hawke’s Bay Hospital about how prepared the hospital was in case of another Covid or infectious disease outbreak.

Acting Group Director of Operations, Hospital and Specialist Services Paula Jones said, “There are systems and processes in place to manage the ever-changing levels of demand and mitigate the event of a high-patient influx.”

“Te Whatu Ora plans and prepares for significant events such as public health outbreaks and Civil Defence emergencies. A co-ordinated Incident Management System can be stood up to manage these events. These systems and processes have been implemented and refined in recent years with the Covid-19 pandemic and Cyclone Gabrielle.”

Jones said Hawke’s Bay Hospital also has a ward which can be dedicated to patients with Covid-19, if required.

The average wait time for the last seven days in the Emergency Department was 5.7 hours, Jones said. “This is the full wait time, from presentation to leaving the department, including any time spent in observation.

Her comments follow studies being done around the possibility of another Covid wave in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Professor in the Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Michael Baker recently told RNZ that New Zealand’s Covid hospitalisation rate was the highest it had been for six months, while wastewater detection of cases suggested we may now be in a “fifth wave” of infections.

“Part of it is the change, the removal of the requirement for self-isolation and also the end of the leave support scheme back in mid- August. We saw case numbers, self-reported numbers drop off,” he said.

“But the thing to look at now, of course, is the wastewater testing and this doesn’t depend on human behaviour, and this is showing a really big uptick in detections of the virus across the country at the moment.”

Baker said that people may be opting to go to work even if they were sick, as mandatory isolation requirements were dropped earlier in the year. However, he reiterated that booster doses of the vaccine were “freely available” for everyone over the age of 30.

Te Whatu Ora is reminding people to make sure they’re up to date with their Covid-19 booster, as vaccination offers the best protection.

Boosters can be booked by visiting Book My Vaccine or by contacting your local doctor, pharmacist or hauora provider. 

To find a full and comprehensive list of eligibility criteria for boosters and antivirals, visit the Unite Against Covid-19 website https://covid19.govt.nz/

Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ on Air


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  1. Yet again, the vital role of general practice in managing COVID has been overlooked. 157 cases, 10 in hospital – so who is out there for the other 147? Thank you, general practice, always the solid foundation of good health care for our communities.

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