Patients forced to wait outside Donegal hospital in ambulances as Covid-19 crisis worsens

Extra staff are drafted in and 11 extra beds are provided

Patients were left in ambulances outside Letterkenny University Hospital for a period on Sunday as additional staff were drafted into cope with the worsening Covid-19 crisis.

There were 196 new Covid-19 infections confirmed in Donegal on Sunday with 65 people being treated with it at Letterkenny University Hospital.

A spokeswoman for the Saolta University Health Care group, which manages hospitals across the west and north west, said: “It has been an extremely busy weekend at Letterkenny University Hospital. Throughout the weekend there has been a large number of patients presenting with suspect or confirmed Covid-19, many of whom required admission to the hospital.

“As a result of the sustained level of these presentations over the course of today, the hospital has had few beds available, which has resulted in delays in admission specifically for patients going to the dedicated Covid-19 zone.

“As part of the hospital’s response to this serious situation, clinical teams assessed patients who were delayed being admitted from the ambulance. This was to ensure that patients were treated in clinical priority.

And the spokesperson added: “The hospital has secured additional staff this evening, which is enabling it to open a further 11 beds in order to respond to the demand. While there were ambulances delayed late this afternoon, over the course of the evening they have, and continue to be released.

“The hospital would like to apologise to patients for the distress that these delays cause and would like to acknowledge the huge effort of its staff.”

The number of cases at Letterkenny has increased gradually from 42 seven days ago.

On Sunday morning, it emerged that Letterkenny has received eight new patients over 24 hours.

The 14-day incidence rate in Donegal is 1,409 and there have been 2,243 new cases in the last 14 days.

The national incidence rate per 100,000 population is 1,291.2. Monaghan has the highest rate in the country with 2,525.

Of the cases 6,888 new Covid-19 cases notified nationally on Sunday, 2,088 were in Dublin, 862 in Cork, 469 in Limerick, 405 in Wexford, 320 in Waterford and the remaining 2,744 cases are spread across all other counties. 

 As of 2pm on Sunday, 1,452 Covid-19 patients were hospitalised, of which 125 are in ICU. There have been 100 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

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