Middlemore has now had 185 COVID-19 positive presentations to our Emergency Department since March of last year, and in the Counties Manukau region there have been over 1900 cases. That’s 35% of all cases in New Zealand, excluding all cases in Managed Isolation and Quarantine facilities.
We continue to safely manage all COVID cases presenting to Middlemore Hospital. The fantastic response of our community to get vaccinated is making a difference. The patients we’re seeing are younger with fewer health complications and increasingly people have had a vaccination which is having an impact on Middlemore.
There have been no COVID positive patients in ICU this week, so the severity of illness for many has lessened. Despite more cases in the community and more patients in the hospital, people being admitted to hospital are not as sick, and their hospital stay is shorter than what we experienced at the beginning of this Delta outbreak.
We’re learning more and more about our approaches to manage and treat COVID, including what drugs we can use and how we use them. What we’ve learnt has helped us support the care pathways to safely manage people living with COVID in their homes as well as in managed isolation and quarantine facilities.
We’ve also started to administer third doses of the vaccination to people who are immune-suppressed and we anticipate we will be administering booster shots to other priority groups soon.
There’s been a lot of media coverage about COVID-19 modelling as New Zealand evolves our national response to the pandemic. From Counties Manukau Health perspective, the science behind modelling and planning is helpful, but it only goes so far. We don’t sit around talking about exact numbers of patients or isolation rooms all day because we know that no matter how good our predictions are, they will inevitably not be 100% accurate. The modelling helps us plan but the reality is our approach is about how we will respond to changes in the demand on our services at any time of day or night and how we will safely manage surges in cases that require our help.
Our collaboration with other District Health Boards has strengthened as an outcome of the adversity we have all faced from COVID-19, and we continue our work across the region together to deliver healthy outcomes for all Auckland and Northland communities.
Finally, on a different note, the End of Life Choice Act legislation comes into effect 7 November and I’ll comment next week about what Counties Manukau Health has put into place to ensure we comply with the legislation that is a first in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Manaaki to hauora. Keep safe and well
Dr Pete Watson, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Medical Officer
Counties Manukau Health