Hospitals entering 'critical point' in Omicron outbreak - Ardern

Source: 1News

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the next week will be the "critical point" in the Omicron outbreak for hospital staff.

Another 17,522 Covid-19 cases were recorded in New Zealand on Monday, while the number of people in hospital rose from 618 on Sunday to 696.

Ardern says a primary focus for the Government is to support the nation's hospitals, particularly those in Auckland where they are suffering critical staff shortages.

"The feedback I’m getting is that they are managing. They’re doing a sterling job of covering where they need to where staff are absent. Over the next week though it is going to be particularly tough going for our health sector," Ardern said.

Covid-19 sign at hospital ward (file picture).

The Prime Minister argued keeping current health measures in place is crucial in making sure hospitals can manage an influx of Covid patients.

"I hear calls from people around wanting to lose the restrictions, but please, do keep in mind for our hospital staff this is a critical point in the outbreak. Those measures are still really important to us. There will be a time where they can go but now is not it," Ardern said.

The Ministry of Health are also calling for people to report the result of their RAT tests, even if they test negative.

Knowing some cases were going unreported, Ardern said the Government was tracking hospitalisations as a signal to see whether or not the outbreak had peaked.

Read more: National leader Christopher Luxon tests positive for Covid-19

The number of active community cases is 192,492. They were identified in the past 10 days but have not yet been classified as recovered and 13 people are in ICU.