Eight elective surgeries have been postponed at Hawke's Bay Hospital as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) continues to infect the region's children and begins to affect adults.
Hawke's Bay DHB said cases presenting with RSV are continuing in children and increasing in adults.
This afternoon, 27 children were in Hawke's Bay Hospital with RSV and one baby was in the intensive care unit.
On Friday afternoon the DHB reported 24 children in hospital, four of whom were in intensive care. One other had been transferred to Starship Children's Hospital in Auckland.
A DHB spokesperson said the numbers were constantly fluctuating and because not everyone with respiratory illness was swabbed, they could not give a total number of how many patients had required hospital care for RSV since the outbreak.
"Some children only require a few hours of hospital treatment and then are safely discharged home."
Chief medical and dental officer Robin Whyman said RSV was now affecting adults, especially older people or those with underlying health conditions.
While most adults tend to have milder symptoms, it could cause severe illness in adults with underlying lung disease or a weakened immune system, he said.
The hospital is very busy, especially in ICU and the emergency department, and Whyman said there is also a lot of staff sickness, so all casual staff have been called in to support the busy wards and acute areas.
"We have made the difficult decision to postpone eight elective surgeries today, and will review this again tomorrow to see if further surgeries during the week need to be postponed, to help reduce pressure on the hospital."
Urgent care and general practices are also busy but sick people should get medical help early, to prevent hospital admission, he said.
Parents and caregivers should be keeping children at home, warm and away from other children if they are sick.
Children with younger or baby siblings at home should not be going to early childhood care if possible.
"The hand-washing, self-isolation and social distancing families followed so well during last year's Covid-19 lockdown are a good guide to the care we need to control this RSV outbreak," he said.
People should seek medical attention early if children are breathing very fast, are wheezing, seem very unwell, are sluggish or lethargic and have laboured breathing where the ribs seem to suck inward when the child breathes in.
Pauses with breathing can be a symptom of severe RSV illness in babies and signs of this mean they should be seen by a doctor urgently.
In Hawke's Bay Hospital and Wairoa Hospital no visitors are allowed in the special care baby unit, maternity and birthing units and the children's ward.
Parents and guardians are exempt from the restrictions and the emergency department is limited to one support person and ICU two visitors once a day.