RSV update – Hutt Valley and Wellington regions

capital and coast district health board - wellington

Capital & Coast and Hutt Valley DHBs continue to see increasing numbers of people presenting with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and respiratory-type illnesses. As a result of this outbreak, the two DHBs are restricting visitation to protect vulnerable patients. 

RSV update: Hutt Valley and Wellington regions – 14 July 2021. There are 33 children of different ages and with varying levels of unwellness with RSV and respiratory-type illnesses currently at Wellington Regional Hospital. Of these, seven are currently in the Wellington ICU. Hutt Hospital currently has 18 children with RSV or respiratory-type illness.

These numbers are continually changing as patients are discharged and others admitted.

We have seen a number of adults across our hospitals with respiratory-type symptoms – often in addition to other underlying health needs. This is not uncommon, and these patients are managed accordingly and isolated if needed.

Both DHBs plan for a seasonal increase in admissions each year. While we have experienced a peak in respiratory illness, we are managing admissions within existing resources and staffing and have the ability to utilise other clinical areas and call in additional staff if needed.

Visiting our hospitals

As a result of this outbreak, the two DHBs are restricting visitation to protect vulnerable patients. We ask people to not visit wards if they have had fever, cough, sore throat, or runny nose in the past 24 hours and advise that children under 12 not visit a hospital unless there is a clear medical need.

To protect vulnerable patients, the following restrictions are in place.

 Wellington Regional Hospital

  • NICU – only parents or primary caregivers
  • Wards 1 and 2 – no one under 16
  • ED – only two support people per patient

No one under 12 will be permitted to visit:

  • ED
  • Maternity and Delivery
  • Ward 4 North
  • Ward 5 North
  • Acute Frailty Unit (Ward 3)

Kenepuru Community Hospital

No children under 12 will be permitted to visit:

  • Kenepuru Maternity
  • Kenepuru Ward 4
  • Kenepuru Ward 5

Kāpiti Health Centre

No children under 12 will be permitted to visit:

  • Kapiti maternity

Hutt Hospital

  • Children’s Ward– no one under 16

No children under 12:

  • ED– only two support people per patient
  • SCBU
  • Maternity and Delivery
  • Older Persons and Rehabilitation Service East
  • Older Persons and Rehabilitation Service West

We also ask people to limit children from coming to our other wards.

Aged Residential Care (ARC)

Please also remember that frail older people are also vulnerable to respiratory –type illnesses. People who are unwell or who have experienced symptoms – including fever, cough, sore throat, or runny nose in the past 24 hours – should not visit ARC facilities until 24 hours after their symptoms have stopped and they are well.

Winter respiratory illness

Many pre-school children in the Wellington and Hutt Valley region are unwell. At this time of year respiratory viruses, including RSV, are common in the community and illnesses can be easily spread in schools and early childhood centres. Adults and older children get milder RSV illness but can pass it on to babies so we strongly recommend that people maintain good hand hygiene and stay home if they have any symptoms of a respiratory illness.

RSV symptoms and what to do if you have them

RSV symptoms include a runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever (often mild) and/or wheeze. In some cases, it can cause more serious illness such as bronchiolitis (narrowing of airways in infants) and pneumonia. Very young infants (especially premature babies and those exposed to smoking), older adults, and those with chronic medical conditions are more at risk.

If you have RSV-like symptoms and are concerned or are getting worse, you should contact your GP or Healthline (0800 611 116) for assessment and advice.

Early medical advice is especially important for those with underlying medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart and lung disease and some autoimmune diseases, or for severely overweight people and pregnant women.

Do not return to childcare, school or work until symptoms have resolved. Anyone who is unwell should stay at home until 24 hours after symptoms have stopped and they are well.

When to seek urgent advice

Parents and caregivers should seek urgent medical advice if a child has symptoms and also:

  • is under three months old
  • is breathing fast, noisily or is having to use extra effort to breathe
  • looks pale and unwell
  • is taking less than half their normal feeds
  • is vomiting
  • has not had a wet nappy for more than six hours

Parents and caregivers should call 111 for an ambulance if a child:

  • has blue lips and tongue
  • has severe difficulty breathing
  • is becoming very sleepy and not easy to wake up
  • is very pale
  • is floppy or you cannot wake them properly
  • has breathing that is not regular, or pauses in breathing

How to prevent the spread of RSV and other viruses

  • Keep children home when they are unwell – they should not attend early childhood education (ECE), childcare, kindergarten, or school
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue
  • Regularly wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dry them thoroughly.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if hand washing facilities are not available.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • People with underlying medical conditions who are at increased risk of complications are strongly encouraged to avoid contact with sick people and have good hand washing practices.
  • If correctly worn, masks are valuable to both prevent spread from infected people and reduce the risk of getting infected if you are close to people who may be infectious

COVID-19

Winter respiratory illnesses and RSV symptoms can be similar to COVID-19 symptoms. Children aged under 11 are not routinely tested for COVID-19 unless they:

  • have been in contact with a COVID-19 case
  • have returned from a place where there is COVID-19
  • have left managed isolation in the past 14 days
  • or a doctor is concerned that the child has COVID-19.

Adults and teenagers with relevant respiratory symptoms require COIVD-19 testing if they have a respiratory illness. Call Healthline 0800 611 116 for free advice on COVID-19 testing.

For our latest news, visit www.ccdhb.org.nz and www.huttvalleydhb.org.nz or www.facebook.com/CCDHB and www.facebook.com/HuttValleyDHB.

Media contact: 2DHB Communications Unit – news@ccdhb.org.nz / news@huttvalleydhb.org.nz