The Southern Health Trust area has the highest number of deaths in NI outside Belfast and currently its ICU is at almost full capacity.
The Trust issued an appeal after experiencing ‘severe pressures on beds’ due to COVID patients saying it is ‘critical’ that the hospital discharge patients as soon as it is safe to do so.
In the last seven days six people have died in the Trust area as a result of COVID-19. This brings the total number of deaths since the pandemic began to 295 people.
A total of 248 children under the age of 18 have tested positive for COVID-19 while 330 between the ages of 20 and 39 have tested positive also. Of those in the 40 to 59 age group, 158 have tested positive while just 39 people in the 60 to 79 age group have a positive result and there are 23 in the over 80s age group.
A spokesperson for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust said: “The significant increase in cases of Covid-19 in our local community is once again placing pressure on our hospital beds. The situation is very challenging and we expect this demand to increase over the next few weeks. Our bed space is continually monitored and reviewed to manage the number of Covid-19 patients at any given time.
“Our Emergency Departments continue to be very busy and we are facing ongoing challenges in admitting patients due to our hospitals working over capacity, limited space and need to follow Covid-19 infection prevention measures.
“The co-operation of patients, families and carers with hospital discharge, as they are medically fit, is absolutely essential to free up beds at this extremely challenging time.
“Increased Covid-19 in the community also has an impact on our staffing levels. And although exhausted, we are once again indebted to our staff for going above and beyond for their patients.
“To minimise potential spread and keep patients, staff and the general public safe, visiting is currently suspended in all of our hospitals with some limited exemptions.
“We ask that only those who really need to come to our hospitals attend. Please come alone if you can, wear a face covering, keep your distance, use hand sanitiser and follow the guidance of our staff at all times. To counter the spread of the delta variant, prevent further hospitalisations and pressure on our system, we appeal to everyone to please attend for both doses of the vaccine.
“We thank everyone for your continued support and co-operation during this difficult time.”
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