Coronavirus: More than 40 patients on ventilators in NI

Doctor uses ventilator

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There are currently 165 ventilators in Northern Ireland with a further 190 on order

More than 40 coronavirus patients are in intensive care and on ventilators in hospitals across Northern Ireland.

There are currently 165 ventilators in NI with a further 190 on order and an additional 650 breathing support machines ordered.

On Sunday, it emerged there were seven more Covid-19-related deaths, bringing the total to 63.

Meanwhile, a Belfast hotel is to be used as a facility for patients recovering from Covid-19.

It will be used for those who require additional care before being fully discharged and allowed to go home.

A surge in cases is expected between 6 April and 20 April.

The Ramada by Wyndham Hotel is located beside St Anne’s Cathedral in the city centre.

Those patients who are over the worst of the illness, but still not quite fit enough to go home, will be cared for in the hotel.

The virus can leave patients feeling mentally and physically exhausted.

While they may no longer need medical treatment, they will be able to rest and be cared for in the facility by a range of healthcare workers including nurses.

Health authorities expect that about 180 patients will require intensive care as the virus peaks in Northern Ireland.

Those figures are only part of a plan and could change in either direction in the coming weeks.

The current modelling in the Republic of Ireland, which has over two-and-a-half times the population of Northern Ireland, has plans for 546 intensive care unit (ICU) beds for the peak of the virus.

Looking beyond the first peak of the virus in Northern Ireland, the BBC understands that plans include providing 300 ICU beds.

Meanwhile, many health care staff remain concerned over the availability of correct personal protective equipment (PPE).

Last week, it emerged that a joint order between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland had not been completed.

The Royal College of Nursing’s Northern Ireland director Pat Cullen told BBC News NI that “if nurses don’t have the PPE they will not be in a position to treat those patients”.

Under the nurses’ code of conduct and health and safety legislation, nurses cannot treat patients if they are not sufficiently protected from the virus.

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The provision of PPE has caused concern among many in the medical profession during this crisis

The issue appears to be around the availability of a certain model of mask that staff were used to and a new model coming on the market that staff have to be re-fitted for.

This is both time consuming and causing staff to feel anxious about what exactly is available.

Healthcare staff continue to call for more testing so, where possible, they can go back to work.

Last week, it emerged during a hearing of Stormont’s health committee that more than 2,000 staff are off due to either having symptoms or self-isolating due to family members being affected.

The BBC understands that approximately 250 Northern Ireland Ambulance Service staff are off work.

About 160 employees are absent due to Covid-19 and the rest due to other circumstances.

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