Coronavirus: Altnagelvin Covid unit like a war zone

Coronavirus: Altnagelvin Covid unit like a war zone

The Covid-19 unit at Altnagelvin Hospital has been like a “war zone”, according to a Londonderry doctor.

Dr Paul Molloy said the facility is seeing almost as many patients in a day now as it did in a week during the months of April and March.

More than 20 patients were being treated at the unit on Monday evening, he said.

The Western Trust said there are currently 55 patients in the hospital with coronavirus.

Eighty-seven new coronavirus cases were confirmed in the Derry and Strabane council area on Monday.

The region has NI’s highest infection rate, with 770 cases per 100,000 people, according to the Department of Health.

Dr Molloy said he used the war zone comparison in a social media post on Monday to make sure “people know Covid is out there”.

“We are actually seeing nearly in a day at the Covid centre at Altnagelvin what we were seeing in a month during the very difficult lockdown period of March and April.

“That puts into perspective what we are dealing with locally at present,” he told BBC Radio Foyle.

Dr Molloy said the Covid centre is coping but warned it was vital people adhered to the public health guidance.

“Covid is there, and very prevalent in our community. Irrespective of what the government is doing, irrespective of what the lockdown rules are, everybody needs to be very careful,” he said.

When Covid cases become more prevalent, every other service at the hospital comes under “severe pressure”, he added.

He added: “It has just got to the point where if we don’t get the R (reproduction) number under control, and things keep increasing exponentially, we worry there will come a point where it will be very difficult to get people into hospital. We do not want that to arise.”

Earlier this month, the Western Trust said hospital admissions were “doubling every three to four days”.

It said its coronavirus surge plan had been implemented at Altnagelvin and two additional wards at the hospital had been opened to treat coronavirus patients.

A third ward has been identified for further admissions, the trust said.

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