A patient with swine flu is in a critical condition in Hawke's Bay Regional Hospital.
Hawke's Bay District Health Board spokeswoman Anna Kirk would not release any details on the patient other to say they were admitted to the intensive care unit on Thursday, and that the swine flu diagnosis was confirmed on Friday night.
The DHB has eleven confirmed cases of influenza A (H1N1) and two probable cases.
The hospital has been swamped with people suffering respiratory illness and has been forced to postpone all elective surgery this week.
Intensive Care clinical director Ross Freebairn said the severity of some patients with acute respiratory illness at the hospital has meant some of these patients have needed to be managed in the Intensive Care-High Dependency Unit.
Regional medical officer of health Dr Lester Calder said there had been a build-up of community transmission of swine flu.
''We've had quite an upsurge in influenza-like illness in the past two weeks, and we're definitely getting more confirmation of swine flu,'' he said. ''It's not just seasonal influenza.''
The hospital had a lot of other patients who also had acute respiratory illness, she said.
Some of these have to be managed in the intensive care-high dependency unit , and the hospital has postponed all elective surgery this week.
The Hastings patient is the second person with swine flu admitted to hospital in a critical condition.
A 30-year-old Lower Hutt woman admitted to Wellington Hospital critically ill with swine flu two weeks ago was reported to be slowly improving, with her condition now stable.
Nine cases of H1N1 flu had been reported in Hawke's Bay in the last seven days, the Ministry of Health said.
The national total of confirmed cases of swine flu in New Zealand reached 587 in New Zealand today, with 64 more confirmed cases since yesterday. Two hundred and eighty-six of the cases were current, ministry spokeswoman Julz Britnell said.
In the past week, another 70 cases of swine flu had been reported in Auckland, another 77 in Wellington and another 88 in Christchurch. Twelve new cases had been reported in Waikato, and eight in Bay of Plenty, she said.
The latest global total on June 26 had reached 59,814, with 263 deaths, the World Health Organisation website said.
Dr Freebairn said visiting at the affected Hawke's Bay unit would be strictly limited to one immediate family member at all times during visiting hours.
Dr Freebairn said he apologised for any difficulty this placed on families but it was an essential part of infection control within the hospital at this time.
Visitors to the unit would be asked to use hand-sanitising gel, which was available at the entrance and within the unit, on entering and leaving the unit.
Children aged under 15 would not be permitted to enter the unit and to prevent further infections visitors with colds or flu-like symptoms would not be able to visit patients, he said.
- with NZPA
- The Dominion Post