The Lakes District Health Board is experiencing a "seasonal increase" in hospital staff working overtime as they continue to grapple with the high number of patients being admitted.
A Lakes DHB spokesperson said some staff
were "prepared and able" to work 12-hour shifts, and some part-time staff were picking up extra shifts.
Both Rotorua and Taupō hospitals were both "very busy" but coping with the number of people being admitted, they said.
"More patients require admission to hospital in winter and this year has been no exception," said the spokesperson.
This included caring for patients with RSV, which remained an "ongoing challenge" for both hospitals.
The spokesperson said the situation with RSV was changing daily, and both hospitals' emergency departments were continuing to see high numbers of people with respiratory illness.
Eight children were in the children's unit with RSV in Rotorua Hospital children's unit on Thursday. Last Tuesday there were 10 children in the same unit with RSV, and another seven with other viral illnesses.
Asked if staffing levels had been affected at Rotorua Hospital, the spokesperson said: "As the community gets more sickness in winter, so do our staff and their families.
"It means sick leave is higher among staff, which makes it more difficult to staff all our areas as well as we would like.
"We really appreciate that a lot of our staff work more shifts when asked, or some staff will work 12-hour shifts when they need to."
Restrictions in the Children's Unit, Special Care Baby Unit and ED remained in place across both hospitals.
Three Lakes Medical Clinic general practitioner Dr Cate Mills said there were "lots" of upper respiratory and viral illnesses circulating the Rotorua community.
This was putting pressure on staff at the practice who were working "at capacity" to see patients.
"The whole team is working very hard."
Mills believed she had seen more RSV than in past years and it was becoming more "complicated" to treat these patients.
"It is as not as simple anymore. They need to be seen in a specialist respiratory clinic, often in protective personal equipment.
"It is taking quite a bit longer. A consultation that might have been a very brief check of someone's ears and throat, you now have to put all your gear on so that you can examine them safely."
BestStart centres chief executive Fiona Hughes said there had been a noted increase in sick leave among teachers and children in their Rotorua and Tauranga centres.
This was predominantly children with RSV, colds and cases of Hand Foot and Mouth, she said. Teachers were calling in sick with general coughs and colds.
"We have implemented our illness policy with parents who have been very supportive in keeping children at home when they are unwell," she said.
"We have a dedicated reliever pool who have been able to cover illnesses, and with child numbers down covering staff absences has been made easier."
Meanwhile, Rotorua Lakes Council chief executive's group deputy chief executive Craig Tiriana said anecdotally they have noticed an increase in staff away sick during the past few weeks.
"With the usual types of winter illnesses like colds, that's not unexpected at this time of year," said Tiriana.
"We discourage people from working at all when they are ill but since lockdown last year staff are more inclined to work from home for a day or two to ensure they don't spread illness."
RSV health advice
• If your child does not currently have symptoms there is no medical advice needed if the child doesn't currently have symptoms.
• Make sure you keep your children, especially if they are aged under two, away from those with symptoms and do not bring them to hospital to visit relatives.
• If your child develops a cough or cold symptoms but is behaving, feeding and drinking normally, keep them at home and away from other kids or relatives.
• If your child develops a cough or cold symptoms but is not working hard to breathe or has wheezy breathing, keep them at home and away from other kids or relatives.
• If your baby is under three months, watch them carefully for any brief pauses in breathing. Take them to ED.
• If your child appears unwell, is not feeding or drinking as usual, and has noisy or difficult breathing, then seek medical attention.