Andrew Little via Getty
Health Minister Andrew Little via Getty

DHBs, hospitals will 'crumble': Listeners unleash on Andrew Little as COVID spreads

Lloyd Burr 14/10/2021

LISTEN: The health minster responded to concerns from listeners and DHB / healthcare workers that our health system will fail once COVID spreads further throughout the country.

Thousands of people will be infected with Covid-19 every week even with vaccination levels at 90 per cent, and hospitals face being overwhelmed once restrictions are eased and borders opened, the Government says.

Modelling showed there could be up to 5200 Covid cases a week – just in the Auckland and Northland region - at 90 per cent vaccination rates, Ministry of Health chief medical officer Andrew Connolly said on Thursday.

The Government unveiled its new strategy to eventually manage between 90 and 95 per cent of Covid infections at home, and not in MIQ, under the care of general practitioners and nurses.

When referencing the numbers above, Little said "We're planning on a high level of vaccination and what that means, the numbers you talked about before that that five thousand two hundred, that is a worst case scenario."

"And it would peak for about four to six weeks and then it would come down again. So just put these things in perspective. But we've got we've got to understand what the worst looks like, and we've got to plan accordingly."

"And that's what we're in the process of doing." Little continued. "Most of those people would be cared for in the home. That's the other major point. "

Lloyd read out a txt from one listener to say how concerned they are about the health care system once COVID is well and truly out of the bag and around the rest of the country. It reads "Hi, Lloyd. I work for Bay of Plenty District Health Board. When Covid is finally released into the community"

"The hospital will crumble from within staff numbers, policies, procedures, facilities just aren't enough to cope. Decisions on who dies will have to be made with regards to who gets the treatment. But that's just the way it's going to have to be. If a thousand people die this year from Covid, then we'll be doing well. "

Little responded "But the reality is there are people in the system who work in the system who are really concerned. Yeah, and I know. And they've been under real pressure dealing with what they've got. I'm not sure how many Covid patients the Bay of Plenty District Health Board has dealt with, because they don't have any at the moment, haven't had any for some considerable period of time."

"So I work on the basis of the people who are expert in doing the modeling, the people who are expert in dealing with outbreaks like this. They draw and I know expert advice from overseas."

"So a lot of the stuff, the preparatory stuff that we've been doing has been drawn from those in the frontline of the experiences of the UK, Canada and Australia. And they I know there have been exchanges between the senior clinicians and all of those countries and their New Zealand counterparts."

"That's the basis on which we've been doing our planning. We've been looking at the data and doing our modeling. So somebody just probably figures out of the ear. That's not the way health systems work. We actually do this on a reasonably scientific basis."

Listen to the full interview with Andrew Little above.

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