“After an assessment of our current position at BHB, we are today moving to Disaster Alert Level 4. This reflects the high number of COVID-19 patients in hospital and in the ICU, the pressure on staff, and the impact of the pandemic on our staffing levels.
“Disaster Alert Level 4 is an internal hospital status that reflects the operational pressure we are under. Our staffing levels are being taxed, and we are having to cease all services that are not emergencies or critically urgent until further notice. The figures will be reported by Government later today, but at this time we have more admitted and sicker patients with COVID-19 in hospital than we have experienced at any time during the whole pandemic.
“We are redeploying all available staff to acute, critical care and emergency services. Our employees are professional and dedicated individuals, but they are also human beings and the risk of burn-out is increasingly evident.
“People in the community may not realise the extent of the impact on healthcare services, but they need to be aware that the increasing demand on the hospital may start to impact our ability to deliver the quality of care that we usually strive for each day.
“We are pleading with the community to follow all public health guidance, wear masks at all times inside and outside if within 6 feet of others. Avoid crowds and enclosed spaces. Get vaccinated, please. It is the best defence against serious disease and death.
“We also ask people to take medically fit for discharge family members home. With the hospital under tremendous pressure, we need the staffing and the space for the new admitted patients, both COVID and non-COVID related.”
Update on the impact of the surge on BHB services
· No visitors for long term and acute care patients, other than in exceptional circumstances such as end of life. Restricted visiting for other areas.
· For all BHB services – only emergency or urgent appointments and treatments will be undertaken.
· People should not attend the Emergency Department for a COVID-19 test. It is not a testing facility and needs to focus on people needing emergency care.
· The Emergency Department is under great pressure. People are reminded that with mild COVID-19 symptoms they can call their GP. If they think they must call the Emergency Department first at 239-1301. They should not just turn up.
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