Reaching full capacity is something Middlemore Hospital has planned for over 18 months thanks to Covid-19 and, as Delta variant cases continue to rise, it means some of its care units might have to shut down temporarily.
Hospital services director Dr Vanessa Thornton told Te Ao Māori News many of the Covid patients admitted to the hospital are unvaccinated.
"We know that the patients who are presenting are unvaccinated patients and they're much sicker," she says.
The government says the Delta outbreak in Auckland is escalating faster than anticipated, especially among Māori, who make up the most recent Covid-19 outbreak of 471 cases across the Auckland, Waitematā and Counties Manukau District Health Boards.
Starting next week, tents will be erected outside the hospital's emergency department to triage people seeking treatment at Middlemore. Hospital staff will also begin vacating patients from the respiratory ward to free up space for Covid patients.
"That takes up to 60 patients and we also have some facilities set up in intensive care with negative pressure to enable the best possible care for patients."
To date, 100 Māori people have been hospitalised at the South Auckland hospital due to Covid-19. But that number is expected to increase as the Delta outbreak continues to escalate, particularly among Māori and Pasifika communities.