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A dedicated COVID-19 ward has been mobilised at Hawke’s Bay Hospital to safely manage a growing number of inpatients with the virus.

Chief Operating Officer Chris Ash said re configurations within the gastroenterology building meant up to 17 COVID-positive patients could be accommodated on the dedicated ward, including intensive care level patients if necessary.

Currently there are eight patients with COVID-19 at Hawke’s Bay Hospital, and Mr Ash said they are expecting a growing number of admissions.

A second ward can also be opened up if needed, which can accommodate 24 patients.

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There were 19 new COVID-19 cases reported in Central Hawke’s Bay yesterday, taking the total of active cases to 129.

There were a total of 435 new cases in the region yesterday, with 2987 active cases.

For Tararua District, there were 31 new cases yesterday, with total active cases now at 218.

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All areas of Hawke’s Bay saw more than double the amount of rainfall in February.

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Councils’ monthly State of Our Environment Report released yesterday showed rainfall, river flows and soil moisture levels at above normal last month.

The Ruataniwha Plains recorded 267% of normal February rain, with Southern Hawke’s Bay, 232%.

From March to May, rainfall, river flows and soil moisture are expected to be at near normal.

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A motorcyclist suffered serious injuries after a crash with a car in Pahīatua on Saturday morning.

Police said emergency services responded to the crash on Nikau Road just after 10.20am.

The motorcyclist was reported to have serious injuries and was airlifted to hospital by helicopter.