Hawke's Bay Hospital has been reconfigured to the point where it now houses a 'Covid-19 hospital' within it.

As part of the process which has "quite literally turned the hospital upside down", a police building has been transported to the Hastings-based hospital to be used as part of its emergency department.

Acting chief medical and dental officer John Gommans said the hospital forms part of its emergency response planning to stop infection spread and further protect patients, staff and the wider community.

"Within the space of three weeks we have quite literally turned the hospital upside down in order to put measures in place that will further protect others, whilst having robust care and capacity plans in place for future Covid-19 patients," he said.

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"We know these are evolving and challenging times and believe these well thought out changes will help to further reduce the risk of any infection spread to staff, patients or members of our community.

Gommans added: "While some changes have been fairly straight forward, others have involved a complete reconfiguration of equipment and technology."

The building is being set up over the next few days. Photo / Paul Taylor
The building is being set up over the next few days. Photo / Paul Taylor

The new building will include a separate clinical screening and triage area for potential Covid-19 patients presenting to ED, which will be closed to all other use to enable appropriate initial assessment and initial management of patients.

Hawke's Bay Homes delivered the new building, which is owned by NZ Police, in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The Hastings-based company, which specialises in constructing and delivering architecturally designed, timber framed buildings, said the building is "going to take on a new task" at HB Hospital.

The prefabricated building is being installed at the front entrance to Hawke's Bay Hospital ED and will be fitted out with services connected over the coming days.

A second intensive care ward has been set up in the new gastroenterology building for Covid-19 patients requiring high dependency or intensive care, while the Paediatric Ward has changed to an adult inpatient Respiratory Assessment Unit for those with acute respiratory illnesses that may be due to the virus.

Gommans said emergency planners were finalising the staffing plan required to resource the new Covid-19 hospital, while an active Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) training programme was already in place.

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