A local doctor has urged unvaccinated people to come forward as Covid hospital admissions continue to grow and pressure mounts as intensive care units draw staff away from other parts of the health system.
Three more coronavirus deaths were recorded across the country and 1,600 new positive cases today.
In Derry and Strabane 133 new cases were reported bringing the total to 782 over the last seven days.
Currently, Altnagelvin Hospital has 39 Covid inpatients, six of whom are in the intensive care unit (ICU).
As of today the Derry hospital is operating almost 9 per cent over capacity.
Across NI more patients are being admitted to ICU.
The Western Trust declined to say whether it intends to implement its Covid-19 surge plan by increasing the number of ICU beds.
Five people were admitted to Altnagelvin Hospital yesterday; two females and three males.
Two were aged 50-59, one 70-79 and the final two over 80 years of age.
Local doctor, Tom Black, BMA NI council chair described as ‘very worrying’ the continuing rise in case numbers across Northern Ireland.
He said: “While we are seeing what is hopefully the beginning of a drop in cases we cannot afford to be complacent.
“It looks like Belfast is now experiencing the same surge we saw earlier this year but the numbers in Derry and the surrounding areas continue to be of great concern.
“In particular what we seem to be seeing is an increase in case numbers among younger people.
“We know this group for various reasons is more reluctant to come forward for vaccination; some might think they will be ok, or some maybe just don’t think getting Covid would be that serious.
“However we are seeing a rise in younger people needing to be admitted for hospital. Therefore I would urge young people to get vaccinated as soon as they can.”
He added: “The past few days have also seen our hospitals coming under pressure again with an increase in Covid admissions meaning that other procedures are beginning to be cancelled in health trusts across Northern Ireland.
“Thankfully we are not at that point yet in our local hospital but it would not take many more admissions for that to be the case.
“Covid patients in ICU need a very high level of care and that draws staff from elsewhere in the system and it is then a domino effect.
“I would urge anyone who is eligible for the vaccine to come forward for it as soon as they can. There are a number of ways to get a vaccine that are quick and easy for people to organise.”
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