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Is another wave coming?


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High hospital rates in recent weeks signal Wairarapa is approaching its second wave of omicron.

The region has recorded a significant jump in hospitalisations since Matariki weekend. After a peak in April, there have been between zero and four cases in Wairarapa Hospital, however since June 25, daily cases have almost doubled.

Wairarapa had the highest hospitalisation rate per capita yesterday.

The number of active cases also increased since the start of June.

The region’s active cases were hovering between 300 and 400 but rose above 400 on June 29, and hit 528 yesterday.

There was another death with covid in Wairarapa yesterday. The total of covid-related deaths in the region is now 24.

Nationally, there was a 33 per cent increase in hospitalisations last week, which epidemiologists believed could be a sign of the second wave of Omicron.

MoH reported 9629 new cases nationally yesterday, about 3000 more than previous day. The first detection of a new subvariant of omicron BA.2.75 was detected in New Zealand yesterday.

Wairarapa Hospital changed to a red light setting last week, which banned visitors unless there were exceptional circumstances.

Wairarapa DHB [now Te Whatu Ora Health NZ] restricted visitors due to the high level of occupancy with covid and other winter illnesses.

Wairarapa interim district director Dale Oliff said the hospital’s response status was determined by the level of demand and capacity.

“There have been high levels of occupancy in the hospital in the last week or so, which is attributable to general winter illnesses. This is not uncommon at this time of year. At the same time, we are experiencing high levels of workforce shortages.

“Absences have been for a range of reasons such as general illness, long covid tail, and the need to isolate or care for dependants who may need to isolate. These numbers continuously change as people recover, or complete isolation, and return to work.

“Like other DHBs, we continue to closely monitor both the covid situation and winter illness prevalence across our region and we are ready and prepared to respond accordingly.”

Oliff encouraged the Wairarapa community to keep up to date with vaccinations.

“We expect winter ailments to cause high demand for services across the entire health system, and we urge people to be vigilant about seasonal illnesses.

“We encourage people and their whanau to remain up to date with all vaccinations – for illnesses such as measles, flu, and whooping cough – and maintain good hand hygiene, mask-use, social distancing, and staying home if unwell.”

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