In this latest wave of the pandemic, there has been a large increase in the numbers of people contracting the illness with this Omicron strain particularly contagious.
What the Southern Health Trust said
The Southern Health Trust said staff, already weary from the overload of work during the past two and a half years, have been working hard to cover shifts of colleagues suffering from Covid or isolating.
A spokesperson for the Southern Health Trust said: “The Covid-19 global pandemic is still very prevalent in our local community. The number of Covid-19 cases in our hospitals has been increasing recently - in Craigavon Area Hospital there are around 50 Covid-19 patients at present. There are currently 450 Covid-19 related staff absences in The Southern Trust. The increase in staff absence levels and illness experienced by staff inevitably increases pressures on our services, which are already experiencing very high levels of demand.
“We constantly monitor ongoing pressures both in our hospital system and regionally to allow us to manage patients in our hospitals at all times. Managing these pressures in a global pandemic is a huge ongoing challenge for our exhausted staff. It is absolutely vital that patients and visitors help keep themselves and others safe by: wearing a mask, washing hands, getting vaccinated, staying apart and leaving the hospital immediately when medically fit for discharge,” said the spokesperson urging the public to practice social distancing, wear a mask, get vaccinated and wash your hands often to limit the spread.