'Equivalent to more than 50 Welsh hospital wards' full of Covid patients, says NHS boss

There are currently the equivalent of more than 50 hospital wards in Wales full of coronavirus patients, the chief executive of NHS Wales has revealed.

Dr Andrew Goodall said the number of Covid patients being treated in Welsh hospitals is eight per cent higher than last week, with 1,654 patients.

He added that there are currently 62 people with coronavirus in critical care, which is lower than a week ago, but said that more than a third of Wales' usual critical care capacity is now being used for coronavirus patients.

The announcement came in Wednesday's press conference, during which Dr Goodall said delayed NHS performance and waiting time statistics would be published from Thursday.

His comments came as a further 640 cases of coronavirus were reported in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 68,449.

Public Health Wales reported another 41 deaths, taking the total in Wales since the start of the pandemic to 2,284.

There are concerns about the personal impact on healthcare staff of wearing uncomfortable PPE. Credit: PA Images

He emphasised the pandemic's impact on the NHS, including the personal impact on staff being required to wear PPE.

"Working in full PPE for a whole shift is hot and difficult – I don’t think many of us can imagine what this must be like. There’s an increased need for breaks so staff can take off the equipment."

Dr Goodall also highlighted how non-Covid patients have been affected by delays due to the pandemic.

"Despite everything we have been doing, waiting lists are increasing because of the impact of the pandemic and the measures we have put in place to protect people’s safety.

"Unfortunately, we will see further increases to these waiting times as we continue to respond to coronavirus during this public health emergency."

He urged people to continue following coronavirus guidelines in order to help ease pressure on the NHS and healthcare staff.

Watch the full press conference with Dr Andrew Goodall here: