There are real fears, as Easter draws closer, that local people may turn their backs on physical distancing laws and hold underground group gatherings.
Today we’ve unveiled a 6-bed COVID ICU (additional to our existing ICU) while, on Monday, we opened a 20-bed COVID-specific unit for patients with suspected or confirmed Coronavirus who don’t require clinical ICU care. In addition, we’ve increased community-based programs and been training staff in various clinical areas including ICU capability (whilst continuing to care for the large number of patients accessing, daily, our high-quality services). We’ve also commissioned a disused ward (almost a decade ago it was our paediatrics unit, on level 3) to accommodate 20 additional hospital patients. These beds are for flex capacity. They could be for COVID or non-COVID patients, depending on our needs.
‘We’ve been busier than ever in recent weeks doing infrastructure works, that would usually take months to achieve these results, to place us in a great position to respond, if and when needed. Although we sincerely hope, if people do the right thing, we won’t need it,’ says CEO Craig Fraser.
‘This weekend is a danger period,’ Craig warns. ‘We are a long way from avoiding this virus. Minimise contacts by physically distancing and do not encourage visitors or events. As we continue to see oversees, tragedy only takes one bad decision.’