Canterbury has passed its Omicron peak, but the district health board is warning that the community needs to learn to live with the virus.
In an update to staff, Canterbury DHB chief executive Peter Bramley said it was probably going to be a long drawn-out descent.
He expects Canterbury will eventually get down to having 400 – 600 cases per day and it is likely to stay at that rate for some time.
He said predictions are the Omicron outbreak will have a long tail which means Canterbury having zero cases is not likely.
"It will be a matter of learning to live with Covid-19 in our community, as it's not likely to go away in a hurry."
"Importantly though, we're on the downward slope and the number of people in our hospitals with Covid-19 is also trending downwards."
Unlike influenza which tends to be seasonal, Covid-19 will be with us year-round, and
likely worse in winter when we spend more time indoors, Bramley said.
"We expect to see numbers continue to drop. In a couple of weeks, we can expect to be well under a thousand new cases a day."
It comes after two deaths related to Covid in Canterbury were reported yesterday.
There were 1286 new cases in the region and 46 people are in hospital.
Bramley said planning for winter is under way.
He said he thinks there will be challenges for health services if predictions of the return of influenza, coupled with Covid-19, RSV, MMR are correct.
"If we follow the modeling out of Australia and the rest of the world, we will no doubt see a resurgence of Covid-19 sometime in winter, so this is going to be a long-haul for us."
Winter planning involves looking at the modelling and developing ways to work differently, Bramley said.
"To learn the lessons from our Covid-19 response to date, and inform our plans to
manage an increase in acute demand over winter."