The combination of cold weather and cold homes appears to be pushing Christchurch's earthquake damaged health system to the limit.
Several wards at the city's main hospital have been operating close to gridlock, with the winter illness and influenza peak yet to arrive.
The cubicles are full at the emergency department where staff are flat out as quake-battered ill line up for care.
The effects of the earthquake are continuing, Dr Nigel Millar of the Canterbury District Health Board says, because living in cold or damp environments has an influence on people's health.
Thirty beds at the main public hospital are still out of action because of quake damage and non-clinical spaces are under repair, causing disruption for all.
"We've moved a number of our acute medical wards across to Princess Margaret [Hospital] which is not ideal, makes things more difficult," Millar said.
Nurse managers monitor the occupancy board, juggling bedspace.
Director of nursing, Heather Gray, said intensive care only had one bed at the time she was talking to ONE News, meaning they could take the next patient but needed to be identifying people to move out after that.
Hours earlier, the entire hospital was near gridlock with flu, respiratory and cardiac illness.
"We were really full. We had not one bed left and we had some concerns about where we were going to put the next patients," Gray said.
The emergency department has been full to capacity several times over the past week and patients in ambulances have had to be moved across town to the 24-hour clinic to help ease the load.
So far, that backup system has worked well.
Dr Phil Schroeder of the Canterbury DHB primary response group said there are contingency plans.
"When there's really awful gridlock occurring on any occasion then there'll be contingency plans to actually get folk to the best care available," he said.
Doctors say patients should call their GP for advice if they are not well, but they must still go to hospital if it is an emergency.
"Some folk get too stoic for their own good," Schroeder said.