Number of Covid patients in mid-west hospital group exceeds first wave

More than 400 staff unavailable for work due to the coronavirus - UL Hospitals group chief says

In the past week attendances at the UHL emergency department ranged between 138 and 205 patients per day. Photograph: Google Street view

In the past week attendances at the UHL emergency department ranged between 138 and 205 patients per day. Photograph: Google Street view

 

The head of the largest hospital group in the Limerick area, has warned the pattern of Covid-19 is rapidly worsening across mid-west region, as 427 of her staff were unavailable for work due to the virus.

In an e-mail sent to politicians on Friday, Colette Cowan, chief executive of the UL Hospitals group, said the total number of Covid-19 patients within the group as of last Wednesday “exceeds the maximum experienced during the peak of the first wave” and that “in recent days we have been admitting about 10 new Covid patients per day”.

According to latest HSE figures published Friday there were 96 confirmed cases of coronavirus at the group’s main hospital, University Hospital Limerick (UHL). This a rise of 36 cases at the hospital in a 48-hour period.

Ms Cowan, the chief executive of the UL Hospitals group, warned that “the pattern of the disease across the region over the holiday period has been one of rapid deterioration” .

In the past week attendances at the UHL emergency department ranged between 138 and 205 patients per day, and Ms Cowan warned “the incidence of Covid-19 in the community means that we are facing significant challenges in discharging patients to long-term care facilities and stepping patients down for rehabilitation”.

She said the 427 unavailable for work includes staff who have tested positive for Covid-19 either through workplace or community transmission; those who are close contacts of positive cases and staff who are showing symptoms.

Limerick Fine Gael Councillor, Daniel Butler, said he was concerned Limerick and other parts will exceed their ICU bed capacity within days: “My gut tells me that we might exceed bed capacity next week, that would be my real concern, the figures are only going in one way at the moment, and I think we could be looking at dipping into surgical capacity that the HSE has secured,” Mr Butler said.