Elective surgeries as well as most out patient scheduled appointments have been cancelled at University Hospital Kerry (UHK) amid still soaring Covid cases.
As of last night, there were 54 patients in the Tralee hospital which serves the Kerry/West Limerick and North Cork region along with five suspected cases. This is up from 38 a week ago when severe visitor restrictions were imposed.
The figures are among the highest acute hospital numbers in the country.
University Hospital Limerick, with 63 patients with Covid-19, has the most cases while Cork University Hospital has 57 patients with Covid-19.
Management at UHK said the decision to "defer" out patient appointments and "postpone elective surgery" was made with the management "having considered the continuing difficulties associated with increasing Covid-19 numbers and the associated staffing challenges".
An exception to the postponements has been made for time-critical surgery for Thursday, July 7; Friday, July 8; and Monday, July 11.
A number of clinics are going ahead, including:
- Orthopaedic trauma clinics;
- Infusion clinics;
- Dressings clinic;
- Cardiology out patient scans and procedures;
- Radiology out patient imaging/procedures;
- Virtual clinics;
- Antenatal clinics;
- Oncology and palliative care clinics;
- Colposcopy and hysteroscopy clinics at Cíll Ide;
- Saturday's gynaecology clinic.
“Other than the above listed clinics, University Hospital Kerry is kindly requesting that patients do not attend scheduled outpatient and elective surgery appointments, unless they receive a call from staff,” it said.
Hospital management has also requested that, where appropriate, the public contact GPs/South Doc in the first instance and explore all other options available to them prior to presenting to the emergency department.
Hospital visiting remains restricted to one visit per patient, per week and those on compassionate grounds only.
Early today, the interim chief medical officer's latest report suggested that levels of Covid-19 transmission have increased.
Professor Breda Smyth's report found that in the past week, there has been a 36% increase in PCR-confirmed Covid-19 cases and a 21% increase in reported positive antigen tests.