NHS hospital moves to 'red' alert with intensive care full of Covid patients

By Cathy Owen

A hospital in Wales has flipped from amber to red Covid status after a surge in serious cases.

A leading doctor has warned that coronavirus patients now make up majority of intensive care patients at Aneurin Bevan Health Board.

Intensive care consultant Ami Jones said that staff were "pretty gutted" to see what she describes as the next wave of coronavirus patients, Wales Online reports.

Latest figures show that there are now more people in intensive care with Covid-19 in Wales than there were when it announced a firebreak lockdown last year.

There were 47 Covid-19 patients in invasive ventilated beds - where the most serious hospital admissions are treated - in Wales as of Friday, September 3, according to the most recent data from StatsWales.

That is more than there were on October 19 last year, the day the Welsh Government announced the country would enter a "short, sharp" firebreak lockdown for 17 days to curb rising cases and relieve pressure on health services.

On that day, there were 43 Covid-19 patients occupying invasive beds across all Welsh hospitals. There were also 43 cases in ICU on October 23 when the lockdown began.

The hospital has been inundated with Covid cases in recent days (WalesOnline/Rob Browne)

The local health board with the most coronavirus patients in ICU was Cwm Taf University Health Board with 10 as of September 3. Hywel Dda University Health Board and Aneurin Bevan Health Board had nine each, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board had eight, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board had six and Swansea Bay University Health Board had five

Writing on Twitter, Dr Jones said: "Frustrating day for ABUHB (Aneurin Bevan Health Board) ITU staff today as we “flipped” the largest part of the unit from Amber (non Covid) to red (Covid). Covid patients now make up the majority of our patients on the unit.

"We’re all pretty gutted that we’re facing this next wave of Covid patients. Vaccination has certainly weakened the link between infections and hospitalisations, but it hasn’t broken it and the unvaccinated are featuring heavily in hospitalised patients."

Urging people to get vaccinated, she added: "Please get vaccinated. Please make sure that you keep wearing facemasks, social distancing and avoiding poorly ventilated areas whether you’re vaccinated or not.

"You can still catch and spread Covid if vaccinated but the risk of becoming seriously unwell/hospitalised is much less."

She was echoing the message from the boss of Wales' largest health authority who "implored" people to get vaccinated after revealing figures for the number of people in critical care.

Len Richards, chief executive of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said that five out of six people in the critical care department had not been vaccinated.

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