DHBs making plans as they brace for Omicron surge

Nicole Bremner
Source: 1News

New Zealand’s 20 DHBs are working together on contingency plans to manage an expected increase in Omicron cases in the coming weeks.

Senior staff at Middlemore Hospital in Auckland confirmed they were in close contact with DHBs across the country to ensure “a consistency in approach to patient care and managing increases in case numbers".

Middlemore’s chief medical officer also confirmed the hospital was putting plans in place to protect vulnerable patients in the advent of a large number of infected admissions.

“We have got contingency plans if the surge starts to exceed our capacity and what we will do is prioritise and make sure we keep those patients who are really vulnerable safe,” Dr Pete Watson told 1News.

“People who might be on cancer treatments, people who might be immuno-suppressed, we'll keep them in areas and rooms which will reduce the likelihood of them getting Covid.”

Watson said Middlemore Hospital was preparing for a surge in cases in the next four to six weeks. It could see up to 1800 patients a day across the Northern Region, which is made up of Northland, Waitematā, Auckland, and Counties Manukau DHBs.

However, one intensive care specialist said it's not known how many infected patients would need ICU care because of other health problems.

Dr Nic Randall said they were also expecting up to 25 per cent of ICU staff to become unwell which will mean a challenging time for those on the frontlines of patient care.