COVID a factor in inpatient pressure - 15.60% of beds COVID-19 occupied

The Western Trust has asked people to help with the timely discharge of patients from Altnagelvin which was under acute pressure yesterday.

By Kevin Mullan
Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 1:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 1:16 pm

People were asked only to attend A&E if they had a genuine emergency as it was ‘extremely busy’ with 87 people in the department and 37 people waiting to get in.

Altnagelvin is currently operating at over 100% capacity, and we urge the assistance of families in expediting discharge where possible. If a loved one is recommended for discharge, we would appeal to family members or carers to work with us to help them leave hospital promptly,” the Trust said.

New data from the Office of National Statistics and the Department of Health, meanwhile, show COVID-19 is still affecting the local health service, although there were no COVID-19 patients in ICU at Altnagelvin yesterday.

Altnagelvin Hospital

At midnight on Sunday, 69 people were being treated as COVID-19 inpatients across all WHSCT hospitals and 15.60% of beds - 1 in 6 - at Altnagelvin were ‘COVID-19 occupied’,

An ONS survey - based on mass testing and considered more accurate than DoH figures which depend on people getting tested and self-reporting - has suggested that in the week ending March 26, around one in 14 people in the Western Trust had COVID-19.

“In NI, the trend in the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 was uncertain in the week ending March 26, 2022; we estimate that 123,000 people in NI had COVID-19 (95% credible interval: 105,900 to 141,000), equating to 6.70% of the population or around 1 in 15 people,” said the ONS. The Western Trust figure was 7.11% or 1 in 14.

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Altnagelvin A&E 'extremely busy' with 87 patients and 37 waiting outside

While the success of the vaccine programme means fewer people are becoming severely ill with coronavirus it is still placing pressure on the health service in Derry.

For example, three more people were admitted to Altnagelvin with COVID-19 over the weekend. Their age ranges were as follows: 50-59 (one patient), 70-79 (one patient) and 80 plus (one patient).

Figures published on Monday also show that 69 people were being treated as coronavirus inpatients across all Western Trust hospitals at midnight on Sunday.

This is lower than numbers in excess of 80 and 90 patients - as were consistently recorded over the past two weeks - but it is still higher than inpatient totals experienced in February.

On a positive note no ICU beds were occupied by patients with COVID-19.

Seven (70%) were occupied by non-COVID-19 patients; and three beds (30%) were free.

In terms of general occupancy, 15.60% of beds at Altnagelvin were ‘COVID-19 occupied’, 75.49% were ‘other occupied’ and the hospital was 3.62% over capacity; 8.91% were ‘awaiting admission.’

Three (30%) of ICU patients were being ventilated and they were all non-COVID patients.

A man aged over 80 sadly died with COVID-19 in hospital in Derry/Strabane on Saturday bringing the total death toll locally since the pandemic began to 216.

The Derry/Strabane seven day COVID-19 rate has fallen to 432 cases per 100,000 but as aforementioned the figures may not reflect the actual extent of the illness in the community as they depend on self-reporting.

Between March 28 and April 3, there were 653 cases giving a seven day rate of 432 per 100,000, down from 535 on Friday.

The average rate for the north is 433.