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Two treated in hospital as active cases top 600

Covid-19 testing in Masterton. PHOTO/FILE

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Two people are in Wairarapa Hospital with covid-19 as the region recorded 179 new cases over the weekend.

The first hospitalisations come as Wairarapa’s active cases rose to 623.

Ministry of Health [MoH] said two people were being treated for covid-19 at Wairarapa Hospital. It also said 131 Wairarapa covid-19 cases had recovered. Since the beginning of the omicron outbreak, the region has reported 754 cases.

New Zealand has reported 179,172 cases in the omicron outbreak, and 222,010 cases since the first outbreak in 2020.

MoH said it could not give detailed information about cases because it needed to protect the privacy of the people concerned.

The Times-Age reported on Saturday that the hospital had not yet had any covid-19 cases, but it expected that to change.

Wairarapa DHB chief executive Dale Oliff said if Wairarapa’s population was fully vaccinated and boosted, it expected to treat 30 with covid-19.

She stressed the numbers were based on modelling that could and did change, depending on external circumstances.

“The modelling is intended to assist with planning purposes and is an indication of what could happen and not what will happen.

“Several other inputs will have also changed as we have found out more about how omicron affects us here in NZ,” she said.

A DHB spokesperson said 10 staff were off sick on March 1 across the organisation, including the emergency department [ED].

The DHB said as of Saturday, all patients presenting at the emergency department would be rapid antigen tested.

It said this would also include any support people accompanying patients.

Oliff said that staff were working long hours in a situation that the ED had never experienced before with the escalating covid-19 situation.

“‘We appreciate patients may have a long wait time and understand their frustration, but the abuse or threats towards medical and nursing staff is totally unacceptable as they care for patients.”

She said the DHB was asking people to treat emergency department staff with kindness and respect.

“The only way through this is by working together and supporting each other.”

Oliff said the DHB was repeating its earlier messages that the emergency department was only for acute emergencies.

“People need to know there is alternative medical care where they may be able to access faster appropriate treatment at the after-hours service based at Masterton Medical Centre at 4 Colombo Road, Lansdowne, Masterton.”

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