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Derry hospital has maximum of 16 intensive care beds to cope with expected surge in Covid-19 patients

Once capacity is reached, patients will be transferred to Nightingale Hospital in Belfast

Derry hospital has maximum of 16 intensive care beds to cope with expected surge in Covid-19 patients

The Nightingale Hospital in Belfast will deal with any Covid patients unable to be treated at Altnagelvin.

Altnagelvin Hospital will have a maximum of 16 intensive care beds to cope with the expected surge of Covid-19 patients in the coming weeks.

Once the capacity of the Derry hospital's intensive care unit has been reached, local Covid patients will be transferred to the Nightingale Hospital in Belfast.

The Western Trust today outlined details of how they plan to deal with the projected imminent surge in Covid-19 admissions to hospital.

At present, there are 13 intensive care beds available at Altnagelvin Hospital.

Ten of these beds are currently occupied, with seven of the patients having Covid-19.

As of today, there are currently 67 Covid positive patients being treated at the local hospital.

Under the Northern Ireland-wide plans for dealing with the pandemic, Altnagelvin can have a maximum of 16 intensive care beds.

Health chiefs believe that capacity will be reached in the coming weeks because of the expected increase in cases.

At a media briefing today, Teresa Molloy, Director of Performance and Service Improvement at the Western Trust, which manages Altnagelvin Hospital and the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen, said they expected an average daily intake of between 15 and 25 Covid-19 patients across the two hospitals in the next week to ten days.

Once the intensive care capacity at the two hospitals is reached, all other Covid patients requiring critical care will be transferred to the Nightingale Hospital which was set up within Belfast City Hospital last year in response to the first Covid-19 wave.

The Nightingale facility will be used to care for patients unable to be treated at their local hospital because of the strain on the health service created by the pandemic.

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