Northeast Health Wangaratta has joined Victorian health services operating under a "code brown" amidst staffing pressures.
On Tuesday, the Victorian government announced a co-ordinated "pandemic code brown" for metropolitan hospitals and six regional hospitals including Albury Wodonga Health.
It did not include Northeast Health, but acting chief executive Robyn Gillis initiated the mode of operation.
"Today Northeast Health Wangaratta (NHW) has notified the Department of Health that the health service is in code brown," she said.
"This decision has been made due to extreme demand on our service and the ongoing challenge of staff isolating.
"We ask our community to support NHW as some of our non-urgent care will be delayed.
"It remains safe to attend NHW's hospital for urgent care.
"Any changes to appointments will be communicated directly to patients."
Northeast Health is the first health service to call its own code brown in the current outbreak - although it was being considered by Albury Wodonga Health.
Tallangatta Health Service chief executive Vicki Pitcher said the code brown wasn't mandated for her service.
"We definitely have workload impacts, but at the moment we're not in code brown," she said.
"We haven't had to cancel services.
"It is at our discretion and it will be a day-to-day decision."
Following Victoria's announcement, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt activated the Private Hospitals Agreement that was developed at the start of the pandemic to provide support to the public health system.
A Ramsay Health spokeswoman said the organisation was working closely with the state government and Albury Wodonga Health to provide private hospital beds, operating theatres, skilled workforce and other resources.
"We are currently caring for public patients, including rehabilitation patients, at Murray Valley Private Hospital to create more capacity in the public health system," she said.
"We have previously also redeployed Ramsay staff to work in public hospitals, vaccination clinics and with contact tracing."
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said his state wouldn't be following Victoria in calling a code brown at this stage.
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"From an ICU perspective today, we continue to track better than our best-case scenario," he said.
"We currently have 209 people with COVID in our intensive care units ... at a height we were expecting 270 (people in ICU) on our best-case scenario.
"There is no doubt our health system here in NSW is under pressure."
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