Hospital overcrowding plummets amid Coronavirus concerns


Overcrowding at the Emergency Department at UHG and elsewhere has plummeted in the week that has seen the COVID-19 coronavirus continue to spread.

Hospitals around the country have imposed visiting restrictions and outright bans as an infection control measure as the number of coronavirus cases in Ireland continues to grow, and people also seem to be avoiding the A&E according to INMO figures.

There are just 9 patients on trolleys in the Emergency Department at UHG today according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, while there were only 8 on Monday.

Nationwide there 234 people on trolleys in Ireland’s hospitals today, up from 167 on Monday, but still nowhere near January’s peak levels of 760 people without a bed.

The Republic of Ireland now has 24 confirmed cases of COVID-19 following the discovery of three new infected people on Monday.

While never nearly as badly afflicted as UHG, the last two days have also seen Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe with not a single patient going without a bed.

These are by far the lowest numbers recorded by the INMO this year, both in Galway and in hospitals throughout the country.

Even in University Hospital Limerick, which regularly has more than 50 or 60 people going without a bed on any given day, there are just seven patients on trolleys today.

The Saolta Hospital Group, which includes UHG, Merlin Park Hospital, and Portiuncula Hospital, has had visiting restrictions in place since last Friday as an infection control measure, which are continuing this week until further notice.

“We are asking the public not to visit any hospital other than end of life situations and other exceptional circumstances as agreed with the ward manager in advance of visiting,” a spokesperson for Saolta said.

“We recognise that the visiting restrictions may be challenging for patients and their families, however, our priority must be to protect the patients in our hospitals who are vulnerable to infection.”