Covid infection numbers in north west ‘plateauing’ - 11 patients are in intensive care

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Covid-19 infection numbers in the north west are plateauing, health chiefs have said.

A total of 11 patients are in intensive care in Altnagelvin Hospital, with only one bed free, and more provision will be opened up shortly.

Sixty-three positive cases are being treated at the hospital.

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Medical professionals voiced cautious optimism that the second wave of infection in what was once one of the UK’s worst-hit areas had peaked.

People at the Richmond shopping centre in Londonderry.People at the Richmond shopping centre in Londonderry.
People at the Richmond shopping centre in Londonderry.

Geraldine McKay, director of acute hospitals at the Western Health and Social Care Trust, said: “The transmission rate is down.

“Critical care is still moving up and is under pressure at this moment in time so that is where we find ourselves, but patients coming into hospital with Covid seems to have plateaued.”

The health services are still on a surge footing.

Ms McKay said people in areas like Strabane had done what was asked of them in minimising the risk of infection.

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She added: “There has been quite a hike in patient numbers this surge compared to the first surge.”

It has had an “ongoing” impact on surgical services.

A number of staff at Altnagelvin and the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh are off due to the pandemic.

Cancer patients have had their surgeries completed.

Ms McKay raised concern at the number of patients who have cancelled surgical appointments due to fear of coming to hospital.

A total of 24 care homes have a Covid outbreak.

That compares with 119 across Northern Ireland.

Ms McKay added: “We are in a position now where we hope we have peaked and are now managing the very significant situation of dealing with outbreaks in the community.”

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