The plan for how Whanganui Hospital would operate in the midst of a local outbreak of Covid-19 involves a range of measures from creating a designated Covid-19 ward to deferring cancer treatment.
The plan, released to the Chronicle under the Official Information Act, was put together by Whanganui DHB to determine how the region's main healthcare centre would respond to a range of scenarios, from a single isolated case to a widespread community outbreak.
The plan was last updated on August 24, about six days after the first Delta case was discovered in Auckland and while the whole of New Zealand was in alert level 4 lockdown.
It is split into four stages, from business as usual at response one (the DHB's current response level) to response level four - fit for a full-scale outbreak.
Response level two would be triggered immediately after a single Covid-19 positive patient is admitted to the hospital, and would have the patient isolated in a single emergency department room.
The entrance to the hospital would be manned, and anyone needing emergency treatment would be required to phone before attendance.
Stringent PPE would also become more commonplace.
Some elective surgeries and radiology services would be cut, with only the highest-priority appointments undertaken, such as for trauma injuries or cancer procedures.
Response level three would kick in once the hospital reached more than five cases or two cases in intensive care.
At this point, the hospital ramps up its response. A dedicated Covid-19 ward would be established, and the hospital's intensive care capacity would be designated solely to Covid-19 patients.
All non-Covid patients would first be processed via Whanganui Accident and Medical, except for those requiring serious hospital-level treatment.
Hospital staff would also begin repurposing other areas of the hospital in preparation for an explosion in cases.
Response level 4 would be initiated once the number of cases in the hospital topped either 15 in total, or three cases in ICU.
Level four is the DHB's highest level of response.
At this level, the emergency department would be restricted to just Covid-positive patients and non-infected patients at status level 1, such as trauma patients or those requiring resuscitation.
A triage area would be set up outdoors, behind the ED where patients could be assessed based on their needs.
The DHB would also defer cancer treatment at the hospital.