A hospital in Northern Ireland has run out of beds and is asking patients to not attend its emergency department in the latest sign that Covid-19 may overwhelm the region’s health system.
On Tuesday, 33 patients were awaiting a bed in Antrim Area Hospital, which warned it was operating “beyond capacity”.
The Northern Health Trust said 180 to 200 staff were self-isolating across the trust, leaving gaps that further strained the system. On Monday, Northern Ireland reported 342 inpatients with Covid-19, exceeding the previous daily peak of 322 recorded on 8 April.
Tom Black, chair of the British Medical Association in Northern Ireland, said a Nightingale hospital could supply more intensive care beds but that the system was experiencing a “triple whammy” of rising cases, staff shortages and threat of further winter pressures.
“This second wave seems to be much worse than the first wave,” he told BBC Radio Foyle.
We’re not seeing the same mortality because the doctors have become very good at keeping people alive with the use of steroids and other drugs, but the concern that we have is does the health service become overwhelmed?
GPs had experienced a lot of pressure over the last two months, now it was the turn of emergency departments, said Black.
They are under fierce pressure.. it’s not just about having the number of beds, but it’s having the number of staff.
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UK deaths involving Covid-19 pass 61,000
The Covid-19 death toll across the UK has passed 61,000.
The total number of deaths registered by the three statistical agencies across England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland now stands at 59,927.
However, more up-to-date UK government figures show that 1,189 deaths have occured within 28 days of a positive test since the figures were registered in each nation: 1,044 in England, 62 in Scotland, 47 in Wales and 36 in Northern Ireland.
This brings the number of deaths across the four nations of the UK to 61,116.
Covid-19 registered deaths rise by half in a week – ONS
There were 670 Covid-19 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week to 16 October, new data from the ONS revealed.
This is an increase of 53% on the previous week, when 438 deaths were reported, and indicates that the widespread rise in new coronavirus cases seen in recent months is leading to a rise in fatalities.
It means the number of deaths registered in England and Wales continues to double every fortnight, from 139 in the week ending 18 September, to 321 two weeks later, and 670 today.
Deaths involving Covid-19 in hospitals as a proportion of all deaths in hospitals increased from 8.4% in week 41 to 12.0% in week 42.
Covid-19 deaths increased across all English regions but were highest in the north-west, with 229 deaths.
The numbers of deaths from all causes in hospitals remained below the five-year average, but deaths in private homes remained high, with 776 excess deaths. Care homes reported 90 more deaths than the 5-year average.
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