An outbreak of Covid-19 has been declared at University Hospital Limerick with two wards currently affected a statement from the HSE has confirmed.
"Contact tracing and testing of staff and patients is underway and we are now, in line with the national guidance, putting into effect all the appropriate infection control measures to mitigate the risk to patients and staff"
Visiting to the two wards in question has now been restricted to 'compassionate grounds' only and relatives and loved ones have been informed of same.
Thankfully, according to the statement, "Visiting on other inpatient wards is unaffected and is facilitated by prior arrangement. Please see here for further details. Members of the public are reminded that the Emergency Department, Acute Surgical Assessment Unit, and Acute Medical Assessment Unit at UHL are not open to visitors"
A hospital spokesperson also confirmed that "The number of inpatient beds currently blocked for reasons of infection control is minimal and the numbers of patients waiting for an inpatient bed at present simply reflects the sustained significant demand on hospitals across the country"
Meanwhile, the Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick remains exceptionally busy. High volumes of attendances, including many frail elderly patients with complex medical conditions who require admission, have continued over several weeks now. In the last seven days, attendances at the ED in UHL have averaged 240 per day, compared to 195 in the last full year prior to the pandemic. The 282 patients who presented over the 24-hour period last Friday is one of the highest figures ever seen at UHL.
At 2pm this Tuesday, September 21, there were 21 admitted patients on corridors in the Emergency Department.
"We regret that any patient has to wait for a bed and every effort is being made by management and staff to reduce these wait times and to maximise patient flow.
"We continue to follow our escalation plan, which includes additional ward rounds, accelerating discharges and identifying patients for transfer to our Model 2 hospitals. However, current demand for our services is multi-faceted and high numbers of admitted patients require a level of care that, for the Mid-West, can only be provided at UHL. In general, patients currently admitted to UHL are sicker and with more complicated conditions, and require longer inpatient stays to recover.
"We remind members of the public to consider all their care options before presenting to the department. Injury units in Ennis and Nenagh are open from 8am to 8pm, and St John’s is open from 8am to 7pm. Injury Units are for the treatment of broken bones, dislocations, sprains strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns. More information on our Injury Units is available here. Anyone with less serious illness or conditions should contact their GPs or out-of-hours GP services. However, if you are seriously injured or ill or are worried your life is at risk the ED will assess and treat you as a priority.
We apologise to any patient who has experienced a long wait for admission to UHL during this period of exceptionally high demand for our services." the statement concluded.
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