Manawatū District Council reintroduces COVID-19 measures amid rising cases

As the country grapples with the "third Omicron wave", one council has reintroduced COVID-19 measures to help ease staff shortages due to the virus.

COVID-19 cases in New Zealand have been rising, with the Ministry of Health reporting on Monday 21,595 new weekly community infections. However, previous wastewater testing indicated the number of cases is likely higher than what was being reported.

University of Otago epidemiologist professor Michael Baker said on Wednesday the country is "very much" in "our third Omicron wave".

Regions around the country are feeling the effects of increased cases, with one council having to implement measures to help protect their staff from the virus and keep their services operating.

The Manawatū District Council said it was announcing changes in how it operates to help ease staff shortages due to COVID-19.

"As is being seen across the motu, COVID case numbers among staff at Manawatū District Council have been on the increase in the last couple of weeks," it said. 

"To help reduce the spread of COVID-19 at [the] council, we've implemented a range of measures."

The measures include rapid antigen testing twice a week for staff, limits on the number of people in meeting rooms, physical distancing where possible and encouraging the use of face masks for visitors to council offices, Makino Aquatic Centre and Feilding Library.

"We've implemented these measures in the hope that we'll be able to maintain our normal levels of service. However, we know from past experience that being short-staffed puts others under pressure, so we thank you for your patience and understanding," the council said.

"We hope to be back to the usual levels of staff in the next couple of weeks."