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Clinically prepared for COVID-19

Friday, 10 Apr 2020

Behind the scenes for the past four weeks, staff have been working 24/7 to prepare, clinically, for what could become a massive intake of Coronavirus patients if local communities drop their guard.

PHOTO Representing some of the many SWH services involved in the development of the COVID ICU: (back row, from left) environmental services assistant Mark Struth, critical care & infection prevention director Dr Mark Page, building & infrastructure electrician Ben Manuell, CEO Craig Fraser, critical care nurse unit manager Tina Johnstone, biomedical technician Shaun Knell, (front) infection prevention coordinator Jenny Lukeis and building & infrastructure plumber Alan Bidmade.

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.’

Page last updated: 15 December 2020

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