Altnagelvin Hospital impacted by 'exponential growth' in COVID-19, says Chief Executive


The Western Trust continues to see ‘exponential growth’ in COVID-19 infection in the community and Altnagelvin Hospital in sepcific is experiencing increased COVID-19 presentations, says Trust Chief Executive.

Western Trust Chief Executive Dr Anne Kilgallen told yesterday’s meeting of the Trust board that In Altnagelvin two wards are closed to admissions because of outbreaks.

In Ward 40, one patient and three staff have tested positive with 15 additional staff self-isolating as close contacts, along with six others who are not ward-based.

“We are in contact with the PHA to establish if the ward could reopen to admissions inside the 28 days, in the knowledge that all second swab results have returned negative, which is encouraging,” she said.

In Ward 25, one patient and four staff positive to date with 11 staff self-isolating as contacts – data correct as of September 30.

Dr Kilgallen continued: “These ward closures, together with the impact of staff self-isolating for reasons associated with community exposure, is having a profound effect on patient flow, with patients awaiting admission in Altnagelvin ED for lengthy periods of time.

“Although the number of inpatients in our Trust yesterday with COVID19 infection was fewer than 15, it is clear that we are experiencing an exponential rise between last week and this, and we fully expect to continue to see and feel this impact on our services for the coming weeks.

“I would also want Trust Board to be aware that in Greenfield Residential Home, Strabane, one staff member tested positive on 21st September and given one resident was displaying symptoms, all residents were tested on 22nd September – all results returned negative, and as a precautionary measure were retested on 29th September (we await results).

“Eighteen staff are currently self-isolating – all have been tested and results returned negative. I am pleased to report that the 14 residents on the first floor residential unit and six residents on the ground floor unit were reported all well and non-symptomatic yesterday.

“I would wish to pay tribute to our very responsive and effective Infection Prevention and Control and microbiology team who have provided great support, guidance and reassurance to clinical teams throughout the pandemic and in recent weeks have stepped up once more to support the wards and community teams I have just mentioned above.

“I know that this is a long battle and people have made many sacrifices, however I cannot over emphasise how important it is for every member of our community to abide by the rules set out by the Executive:

•             Limit your contacts

•             Keep at least 2 metres distance from others

•             Wear a face mask/covering in public spaces

•             Wash your hands.

“I am constantly aware of how important our staff members are as role models in our communities. People have come to expect the highest of standards from us in terms of our behaviour and we have a duty to live up to that expectation. I know our staff are up to this challenge.”

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