By Carmel Hayes
PORTLAOISE hospital has implemented an emergency ‘surge’ plan as Covid-19 cases soar to record levels.
The number of virus admissions reached an all-time high last night, when 24 patients with confirmed Covid-19 were receiving treatment.
This is a further increase of two from the previous night. There was also one patient with a suspected Covid infection.
However, the number of virus patients critically ill in ICU fell to four last night, down from a record seven the previous night.
Today’s HSE report shows that there were no vacant ICU beds in Portlaoise hospital at 8pm last night, while there were only three vacant general beds.
As the Covid surge continues, the hospital has implemented a surge plan in recent days to cope with the unprecedented number of virus patients.
The Dublin Midlands Hospital Group (DMHG), which includes Portlaoise hospital, confirmed in a statement that the contingency plan has been implemented.
The statement says: “Like all hospitals, the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise has a surge plan in place to respond to increased Covid-19 patients. In the earlier part of the pandemic, the hospital relocated the intensive care and coronary care, to enable additional space to accommodate an increased number of patients requiring intensive care support.
“The hospital management also undertook contingency planning as to how this can be supported from a staff perspective. This plan has been implemented in recent days.”
The DMHG has appealed to people to continue to observe Covid-19 restrictions, to help ease the pressure on frontline staff in Porlaoise and other hospitals.
The statement said: “Hospitals across the Group are under significant pressure. We would appeal to the public to stay home and stay safe. Our Emergency Services are available if you are in an emergency situation. Please call 999 or 112, otherwise contact your GP by phone for routine matters.”
The stark situation in Portlaoise reflects the ongoing rise in Covid admissions to hospitals across the country. There were 1,733 virus patients in hospitals nationwide last night, up from 1,686 the previous night. The number in ICUs rose from 158 on Tuesday night to 174 last night, including 97 on ventilators.
There were three Covid deaths in hospital ICUs in the 24 hours up to 8pm last night.
The daily HSE report does not disclose Covid patient outcomes in individual hospitals, whether recoveries, deaths or transfers to other settings. These details are provided only on a national basis.
Portlaoise hospital cancelled all non-urgent services last week, as frontline staff cope with the ongoing surge in virus cases. All non time-dependent work has stopped, including inpatient, day case and outpatient services.