The chief executive of the Royal Cornwall Hospital has revealed plans for a ten-fold increase in the number of intensive care beds in the county.
Currently the hospital has 15 intensive care beds, although that could increase to 146 as the number of coronavirus cases spirals.
To date 15 people have lost their lives to Covid-19 at the Treliske hospital.
Twenty one patients are currently being treated for the disease at the hospital.
Chief Executive Kate Shields says that between the trust’s sites at Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance, St Michael’s Hospital in Hayle, along with community hospital beds, there should be enough capacity in Cornwall to cope with an influx of Covid-19 patients.
Normal capacity in Cornwall is for 15 intensive care beds, we’re going to go up to 68 intensive care beds in our first phase and if we need to we’ll be able to go up to 146 intensive care beds spread out across the top of the hospital.
The chief executive said fewer people were presenting with symptoms of Covid-19 at the hospital compared to other parts of the UK, whilst adding:
We know that primary care in Cornwall are seeing a lot of people with a raised temperature and a sore throat and a persistent, new cough, so we know people are experiencing the symptoms in Cornwall.
We’ve got awesome people working really hard to plan for the busiest times and we’re hoping we’ll have the quietest times, because we’ve got a lull now between the planning and us hopefully not becoming too busy but the hospital is empty at the moment.
At present approximately 12 percent of NHS staff across the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust sites are self-isolating because they or members of their families have Covid-19 symptoms.
We don’t know how many have tested positive for Covid-19, I know we have a number of staff members off, self-isolated at the moment because either they or their family members have symptoms. We haven’t been testing NHS staff until the start of this week.
Visitors to all hospitals in Cornwall are now heavily restricted to help slow the spread of coronavirus, Kate says this was a tough call, especially for families of patients with the virus.
The first thing is our hearts go out to you, we’ve all had family members that have been in hospital and that distancing from people when they are poorly is awful. We’re looking at ways that families can keep in contact through iPads on the wards, Facetime and making sure they can have telephone conversations with their folk.