The pandemic is not over however the continued decline in case numbers is a welcome relief to us all.
At the peak of this Omicron outbreak Middlemore had five wards dedicated exclusively to patients with complications and serious illness due to COVID-19. This week we currently have two dedicated COVID-19 wards, although many wards still have some cases.
While the decline is hospital admission is welcome, now is not the time to relax on important protection measures such as washing hands regularly, staying home when you are unwell and most importantly getting fully vaccinated including eligible tamariki, and making sure those that can, do have their booster shot.
As we prepare for winter 2022 the Influenza vaccine is now available. The Ministry of Health has extended the eligibility of the free flu vaccine to include all Maaori and Pasifika over the age of 55 years.
That’s great news for our community as once the international borders open the two-year hiatus of northern hemisphere flu virus’s circulating in our community will be over.
Influenza, or flu, is a virus that can cause serious respiratory illness for some people. It is a different disease to COVID-19 and the influenza vaccination will reduce the risk of serious complications for many.
There are still many people dealing with COVID in their homes and workplaces, and given the pandemic is far from over we are resuming planned care cautiously to align with our workforce capacity. We have started completing surgery in our Manukau Health Park facility which is an advancement from last week in our return to planned care for our community.
We will continue to work across the region to address the challenges of restoring non time critical surgery and planned care.
We appreciate the understanding of our patients, and we know winter 2022 will be challenging, we remain committed to the ongoing care of our community.
Kia noho haumaru. Keep safe
Dr Andrew Connolly
Chief Medical Officer