CEO of the Saolta hospital group Tony Canavan has said that the situation at Galway University Hospital (GUH) deteriorated overnight and the hospital is now under significant pressure.
At present there are 133 Covid-19 patients in GUH with 17 in ICU, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.
There was still an upward curve in the number of cases, he added, and in recent days the hospital moved to Surge Level 3 to increase capacity in intensive care beds as required. However, he cautioned that this was dependent on the availability of staff.
Staff availability is a significant issue with 387 staff at GUH currently on Covid leave, which represents almost 10 per cent of the workforce.
This week there was a change in the number of days recommended for self-isolation from 14 to 10 and that will assist in terms of staffing rosters. More staff were expected to return to the work at the weekend, but there would be a “critical” two-day period before then with great pressure on staff.
Covid patients were across all age groups, but the “most devastation” was being experienced by the older population, he said.
The move from Level 5 to Level 3 in December and then people coming together over Christmas had all led to the increase in cases, he said, along with the new strains.
By and large people were compliant ( with restrictions), but the level of non-compliance was concerning, he said.
“It’s really important that people continue to do what needs to be done.”
The focus should be on the existing measures and ensuring that they were applied rigorously.- especially in areas such as Tuam, Oranmore and Galway City where the levels remained high.