Winter illness placing pressure on health system

Multiple winter illnesses placing pressure on health system; more than 155,000 COVID-19 cases recorded in Canterbury


Canterbury has now recorded more than 155,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with almost 1000 new cases recorded today. Multiple winter illnesses continue to place pressure our health system.


Vaccination and healthy habits are the best protection against the viruses circulating this winter. We’ve all learnt some great habits over the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as vaccination, wearing masks, physical distancing, and increasing ventilation when indoors. These measures will help protect us as we face influenza and other viral diseases.


“I am incredibly pleased to hear that 123,000 Cantabrians have already had their flu jab. But I am worried for our Pacific and Asian communities where uptake has been low. Please encourage your whānau and friends to get their flu jab as soon as possible, especially if they are eligible to get one for free,” says Becky Hickmott, Senior Responsible Officer for Winter Planning, COVID-19.


“With the borders now open, there is a very real possibility you may get COVID-19 and influenza within a short time period. Measles may also start circulating. By having all your vaccinations and staying well this winter, you’ll help keep health services free for those who need urgent care.


“Māmā and pāpās, we need to get our tamariki immunised. Now is a great time to get your 5-11 year olds vaccinated against COVID-19 if they are eligible and we also need to make sure that all our pēpi, tamariki and rangatahi have had both of their MMR immunisations to protect against measles.


“You can get all of these vaccinations (COVID-19, influenza and MMR) at the same time if you need them.”


Make sure you’re winter-ready, so that you and your whānau stay healthy and well all season. This includes making sure you get any prescriptions for medication you need in advance. Please stay at home if you are unwell with a cold or any other illness.


“Our COVID-19 case numbers remain very high in Canterbury. This is impacting our primary care providers as they continue to manage high numbers of sick patients, while also grappling with staff illness,” says Becky Hickmott.


“At the DHB we still have on average 200 staff off every day with COVID-19 and we have 56 COVID-19 patients in hospital today.”


“Most people can manage cold, flu and COVID-19 illness at home, which keeps the health services for the very unwell.  Make your GP or normal healthcare provider your first port of call, but if after hours care is needed visit one of the Urgent Care centres in Canterbury.


“Remember that you can also phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 for free health advice 24/7. If you’re caring for someone at home with flu, there are some useful practical tips here on danger signs to watch out for, especially when caring for babies and young children/tamariki.


“I would like to emphasise that if you are very unwell, we do want to see you at the Emergency Department. We want to reassure our community that you will receive the emergency and acute care you need this winter.”