Covid-19 NSW: Hospitals ‘under stress’ with patients in ICU

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has made a grim admission as health officials try to deal with surging Covid-19 hospitalisations.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro admits the state’s health system is “under stress” but insists it can cope with surging Covid-19 hospitalisations.

There are 840 people in hospital with Covid-19 in NSW, with 137 in intensive care.

Three hospitals – Westmead, Liverpool and Nepean – are dealing with the lion’s share of the state’s total admissions.

There are concerns the state’s hospitals will reach breaking point as infections climb towards 2000 new cases a day.

Speaking on breakfast TV, Mr Barilaro said health officials were rolling out similar measures to the beginning of the pandemic last year, with infections and hospitalisations tipped to peak in September and October.

“We’ve put in extra billions of dollars into ICUs, 2000-plus ventilators, upgrading the workforce, retraining and recalibrating, and we are doing that all over again,” he said on ABC.

“(We are) preparing for what will change at 70 per cent and 80 per cent (vaccination rates) as we start lifting restrictions and we know it’s under stress.

“We are not denying that the system is under stress, but at some point you repivot and we are confident with the vaccine and the vaccine rollout … that we can mitigate how many people end up in ICU isolation and that’s the key.”

Despite reports of paramedics being told to divert Covid-19 patients to hospitals outside western Sydney, a spokesperson for Western Sydney Local Health District told NCA NewsWire that emergency care and ICU beds for non-Covid patients were still available.

It is understood Westmead and Liverpool are each dealing with about 120 of the state’s total 840 Covid hospitalisations, while Nepean is treating almost 100.

“The dedicated frontline health heroes at Westmead Hospital continue to deliver care to the people of western Sydney – the current epicentre of the current COVID-19 outbreak – and we thank them for their hard work and dedication to patient care,” a spokesperson said.

“There are a growing number of Covid positive patients being cared for at Westmead Hospital – most of whom are being cared for in our dedicated Covid wards and some also being cared for in the intensive care unit and the emergency department.

“Capacity at Westmead Hospital continues to be made available and our health district continues to work with other health facilities to manage demand.

“Westmead Hospital’s emergency department is continuing to receive ambulances, emergency care continues to be available to everyone from western Sydney who needs it and intensive care beds for non-Covid positive patients continue to remain available.”

With 1290 new local cases of Covid-19 recorded on Monday, Ms Berejiklian said the state’s hospital system would be stretched in October but could cope.

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Author: Shirley