NNUH prepares for coronavirus surge with 30 patients now in hospital
- Credit: Mike Page
The Norfolk and Norwich Hospital is getting ready for a steep rise in the number of coronavirus patients, with 30 now being treated and two more deaths confirmed on Friday.
There are 30 patients with Covid-19 at the NNUH, with another 48 awaiting results, the hospital said in an update to staff on Friday afternoon.
Two patients are in critical care as well as a baby who was transferred from the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston earlier this week.
Three patients have died in total at the NNUH, including a man in his 80s and a woman in her 90s on Wednesday.
Most of the coronavirus patients are being treated on Cringleford ward but the hospital has also prepared beds on Brundall ward, Elsing, Dunstan, and the Jack Prior Unit.
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It has increased its intensive care beds but told staff on Thursday that it was not expecting numbers to spike for another three weeks.
When they do, the spike could last for six weeks, it said.
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“We’re in a reasonably strong position for when numbers begin growing,” staff were told.
The NNUH also said it was expecting a delivery of face masks next week and had both surgical masks and more heavy duty masks known as FFP3.
Currently nurses treating coronavirus patients only have to wear surgical face masks, rather than the more protective ones.
One NNUH staff member said they felt the surgical masks were “completely inadequate” for stopping transmission of Covid-19. But the NNUH said it was following NHS guidelines.
As of Friday, those guidelines said the heavy duty masks are only needed when staff carry out something called aerosol generating procedures. That includes things like resuscitation where aerosols, which can carry the virus, are created.
The hospital has also been split into three areas; a yellow zone, for treating patients with the virus, green, for those without, and blue for administration.
A spokesman said: “Our staff are working phenomenally hard to fight this pandemic and we are putting place measures to manage the increase of cases we expect to see over the coming weeks.”
Meanwhile the East of England Ambulance Trust said it would be removing ventilators from its vehicles and contributing at least half to emergency hospitals where they are needed most.