All non-urgent surgery for children at Christchurch Hospital has been halted as climbing numbers of patients with respiratory illnesses stretch resources.
Canterbury District Health Board chief medical officer Dr Helen Skinner said on Sunday, 60 of the 340 people who came to the emergency department were suffering respiratory issues.
Skinner could not confirm all of those had RSV, but the number of confirmed cases in the city had soared.
Four people are in intensive care with respiratory illness.
Skinner said deferring surgeries was a last resort bid to free up beds and staff for acutely unwell people.
The drug-buying agency Pharmac yesterday said that more supply of the steroid medication Prednisolone has been brought in after use of the oral medicine to treat children with RSV pushed it to critically low levels.
Earlier this month the Early Childhood Council called for government support as RSV lead to a spike in absences at early childhood centres.