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General Manager of UHW says Covid situation in hospital not nearly as bad as January 2021

THERE are 30 Covid patients in UHW as of this morning (Thursday) and none of them are in ICU.

General Manager of the hospital Grace Rothwell says they have seen a "gradual rise" in the numbers of Covid patients presenting to the hospital following on from the week of Christmas to New Year.

However, she says the hospital is in a much better place to deal with the situation compared to January of 2021 when 130 Covid patients were on site and the vaccination roll-out had not taken effect.

Speaking to Damien Tiernan this morning, Grace Rothwell did say they that as of 7am this morning (Thursday), the hospital - which has 450 beds in total - only had five beds available.

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She said 175 members of staff were out sick yesterday which was a significant number.

Meanwhile, there had only been one Covid-related death in the hospital in the past three weeks.

The majority of the 30 Covid patients currently on site, she also confirmed, are not fully vaccinated.

In terms of the Christmas period at the hospital, Grace Rothwell said they had managed to get a lot of patients home before Christmas which was good for them and their families, as well as the hospital.

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"It meant we had plenty of capacity," she said.

"The Emergency Department was steady over Christmas and generally, Covid (inpatient) numbers were low but steady," she said, adding the 'gradual rise' from that period of Christmas to the New Year had been evident since.

In addition to the 30 confirmed inpatient cases of Covid, there were now 16 people extra people whom there was a question mark over- some were awaiting swab results and others had an initial result of Covid not being detected but medical staff had some concerns about.

Two wards on the Dunmore wing were occupied, the General Manager also said.

Critical care on site was not affected by Covid but they were at capacity in critical care.

Grace Rothwell also confirmed some elective procedures had been cancelled in the hospital this week but staff would be meeting later today to discuss their plan for such procedures next week.

She said the 'peak' was expected by the end of this month and hopefully, there would be an improvement in the situation then.

She said it certainly did appear that pe0ple were less ill with the Omicron variant. The hospital were also very focussed on keeping patients off trolleys both in the Emergency Department and across the wards.

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