Staff absences due to Covid 19 in Canterbury mean some planned surgeries may be deferred next week.
Four hundred staff are currently impacted by the virus, either directly or through being a close or household contact, chief executive Peter Bramley said at a Health Select Committee meeting.
150 of them are infected with Covid-19.
He said the next three or so weeks will be a "challenge" due to the staff absences.
There are 18 patients in hospital with Covid-19 in Canterbury.
"The reality is, from our modelling, we believe we are about three weeks away from the hospitalisation peak but the big challenge is going to be about supporting the health system as a whole," Bramley said.
Incident controller Tracey Maisey told the committee the health board is in stage 2b of its framework.
"Which means we have started consolidation of some of our services in preparation for the peak. We've combined wards in our non-acute facilities."
Maisey said due to the increase in staff absence, they may need to reduce some of the planned care surgeries, possibly from next week.
She said they are sitting at 98 per cent resourced occupancy but that does not include beds that are available but not in comission and the Covid ward which is half full.
There were 2024 new cases of Covid-19 in Canterbury on Wednesday.
It brings the total number of active cases in the region to 15,000.
- by Devon Bolger, NZ Herald