Hospital admitting on average 5 covid patients a day
202 members of staff absent due to covid
Two suspected outbreaks on the main wards
UPDATE: There is now a confirmed outbreak in the Ardkeen Ward.
UNIVERSITY Hospital Waterford manager Grace Rothwell has issued a stark warning to staff in the face of rising covid numbers and falling staff and bed numbers. According to Ms Rothwell, the hospital has been admitting an average of five covid patients per day over the last number of days and as of 8am on Monday morning (January 10) there were 42 patients positive with covid-19 in the hospital. This was an increase of 12 patients in just two days and exceeded capacity of the Dunmore Wing, prompting fears that patients will now have to be accommodated on the main wards. According to Ms Rothwell, they already suspect two outbreaks in the main hospital.
“We have suspected outbreaks in two wards and have significant single room capacity challenges,” Ms Rothwell said. “Scheduled Care will be curtailed this week due to bed capacity.”
Even more worryingly, Ms Rothwell said that as of last Friday, the hospital had 202 staff absences due to covid.
“From this morning I would ask that staff wear FFP2 masks in all areas of the hospital(clinical & non-clinical) and that each and every one of us ensures good hand hygiene and social distancing, be mindful of ‘distance’ when on your breaks etc,” Ms Rothwell warned. “We are advised that this week and next week may see a significant rise in case numbers and as such strict adherence to the well established measures is of crucial importance.”
Ms Rothwell also warned staff against visiting patients at the hospital.
“Staff should not walk through clinical areas unnecessarily and staff should not visit patients in the hospital,” she said. “Patients should be encouraged to stay in their beds and wear facemasks (even the surgical facemasks, as it is likely that many will not tolerate FFP2 masks). Visiting in general will only be in exceptional circumstance and such visits will be no longer than 15 minutes. I have asked that greater emphasis is placed on cleaning hi-touch surfaces such as door handles, switches, telephone handsets etc.”
The amount of covid cases being reported are so high that local information has not been available since before Christmas. What we do know is that public health cannot keep up with the demand for testing with people waiting upwards of three days for a test. As of Sunday, January 9, 51% of those tested are positive. In Waterford, of the 42 patients with covid, three were in ICU at the weekend and by Tuesday January 11 that number has reduced to one.