Given New Zealand has had nearly three years without the influenza virus circulating in our communities we expected this winter to be challenging. Our immunity against the flu viruses, including in children, is low.
Please get vaccinated against influenza to help protect you and your whaanau from serious respiratory illnesses this winter. It is very effective and will help prevent many people from becoming seriously unwell and needing hospital level care.
At Middlemore we have seen a fourfold increase in patients with influenza in the last month compared to 2019. We expect the numbers of patients with flu will remain high for the next 8-9 weeks.
To help manage the demand on Middlemores Emergency Department, and meet the needs of our community, in our district we have additional services that will apply over the upcoming Matariki long weekend.
For participating General Practices in the Counties Manukau district, weekend consultations are free. Please check the opening hours of participating General Practices to access free appointments this long weekend. In addition, many of the pharmacies in our region are providing free pain relief, paracetamol or ibuprofen, for children aged 13 years and under.
We are extremely grateful to the increased support from General Practice, Urgent Care and pharmacists who have also been under extreme pressure.
We knew this winter would be challenging so everything we can do to help prevent the spread of the virus’s is important.
If you are feeling unwell or have changes in your health, please get medical advice early. Please reach out to Healthline 0800 611 116 with any health concerns that you or your whaanau might have and follow their advice.
Please keep up good hygiene standards like washing hands regularly, cleaning frequently touched surfaces like door handles and benches, and items like your phone often. Please wear your face mask in public places and stay home from work or school if you are feeling unwell.
Our people are extraordinary, and we know it is busy across the health system, not just here at Middlemore. We ask all our community to seek medical advice early if you are unwell, and please get immunised against influenza to stay well this winter.
Kia haumaru te noho i teenei takurua.
Dr Andrew Connolly
Chief Medical Officer