People living in South Auckland are being urged to keep using the Middlemore Hospital emergency department after a number of people tested positive following presentation.
Five people have tested positive after presenting at Middlemore, including three revealed by the Ministry of Health just last night.
But authorities are reassuring the public that patients who could have Covid-19 are being carefully managed and it remains safe to go to the ED.
At this afternoon's press conference Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pleaded with anyone who needed medical help to go to the hospital, report their symptoms and get the care they needed. The best place for them to be was in hospital if they were sick, she said.
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Counties Manukau Health chief medical officer Dr Pete Watson said in a statement it was "critical" that anybody needing urgent care got it as soon as possible.
"The hospital is safe to attend. People should not delay seeking medical help – if they wait too long their condition may deteriorate," he said.
"We know that alert level 4 and recent news about Covid patients at the hospital can be worrying. But we have strict processes in place to keep everyone safe."
The ED is open, and patients are being "carefully and fully assessed" on arrival.
Anyone with possible Covid symptoms or a suspected exposure to Covid would be managed through a dedicated pathway, including being kept separate from other patients during assessment and treatment in the ED, wards and intensive care units.
Everyone coming to the ED was socially distanced, and had to wear a mask if they were an adult. All staff had to wear appropriate PPE, including N95 masks and goggles.
Middlemore was also testing more patients than normal when they arrived in the ED "as a result of the greater precautionary approach required at this time".
"We are urging any of our community who are very unwell, to come to see the emergency department as soon as possible. We are here to provide safe, high level care to anyone who needs it, no matter what their medical requirements are."