The HSE has unveiled massive isolation and stepdown facilities at the Citywest hotel in Dublin, with capacity for more than 1,000 people. It is the first of a number of such facilities planned, with the HSE also examining sites in Cork, Limerick and Galway.
HSE CEO Paul Reid, chief operations officer Anne O’Connor. and public health medicine consultant Sarah Doyle gave a briefing from Citywest, unveiling the full plans for the facility, which is due to be operational in the coming days.
The Dublin hotel will have two functions. It has 750 beds for people who need to self-isolate. These are due to be available by the end of this week.
These will be available for people referred by their GP and who are unable to self-isolate at home for any particular reason. They may be asymptomatic, showing mild symptoms and awaiting a test result, or having tested positive but showing mild symptoms and therefore not in need of hospital care, said Mr Reid.
He said the facility will also have dedicated exercise areas and that meals will be provided for those who are residing there.
Citywest may also serve as an overflow stepdown facility, with a capacity of 450 beds. This will be for people who were recently in hospital and treated for Covid-19 but are not yet fit to return home and are in need of monitoring.
“It is a facility that we hope not to use but we have to be prepared,” Mr Reid said.
He said the HSE still aims to provide all primary care in hospitals but the overflow stepdown facility is part of contingency planning for a situation where the numbers being treated in hospitals increases beyond existing capacity.
The stepdown facility, if activated, will have dedicated nursing stations and will treat people up until they are ready to be sent home. It will not have ICU facilities and ventilators, said Ms O’Connor.
“These are not for people who require that level of care,” she said.
In addition to the Dublin hotel, the HSE is exploring options for other urban centres.
There are a number of sites in mind, including locations in Cork, Limerick and Galway, with a common plan in place for their functions.
The self-isolation facility in Citywest will take referrals from all over Dublin, but also other areas, officials said.
It is due to be open later this week, while the step-down facility is likely to take two to three weeks to put in place, depending on the situation at the country’s acute hospitals, said Ms O’Connor.
Facts and figures of the fightback
- 10 flights delivering personal protection equipment in the coming days. The first landed yesterday afternoon;
- These will bring 1.6m masks, 400,000 eye protections, 256,000 gowns, and 254,000 gloves;
- The HSE has secured 34 million masks, 24m eye protections, 24m gowns and 50m gloves, the equivalent of 15 year’s purchasing.
- 5,000 people being tested every day;
- More than 33,000 people tested since March 16;
- 10,700 people waiting for a test;
- More than 4,000 waiting for a test appointment;
- 60,000 more test kits secured by HSE, expecting another 100,000 each week;
- 46 testing centres now operational, with six more coming on stream next week;
- Private hospitals will bring 2,000 beds, 100 critical care beds, significant nursing and other staff, 200 ventilators, 500 consultants;
- 66,500 people applied to the On Call for Ireland process. Already, 263 nurses and 63 doctors contracts being finalised, and 5,000 student nurses and 1,100 medical interns are being brought forward;
- 1,400 people trained in contact tracing; 4,000 people will be tracing in“the next few weeks”.
- The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
- Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department - if this is not possible, phone 112 or 999 and in a medical emergency (if you have severe symptoms) phone 112 or 999