With escalating cases of COVID-19 in the county the South/South West Hospital Group (S/SWHG) are strongly urging members of the public to stay at home and follow the Government’s current COVID-19 guidelines to ensure that they do not contribute to the spread of Coronavirus.

The S/SWHG is urging members of the public to focus on the following: limiting your contacts, not to make any unnecessary journeys outside their 5km radius, hand washing, cough etiquette, wearing masks in public spaces, being aware of and recognising COVID-19 symptoms, and taking the appropriate course of action if symptoms present themselves.

The Emergency Departments across S/SWHG are extremely busy over the last number of days due to people presenting with COVID-19 symptoms and staff who are unavailable for COVID-19 related reasons. Due to this increased level of activity and subsequent admissions, it is regrettable that some patients may experience a delay in the Emergency Department (ED). Therefore management have requested that, where appropriate, the public contact their GP/Out of Hours service in the first instance and explore all other options available to them prior to attending the ED if their needs are not urgent.

The Intensive Care Units across the Group are busy, however Critical Care Capacity in S/SWHG is actively managed as a group resource; thereby ensuring patients always have access to the best possible care setting with inter-hospital transfer as required. The necessary arrangements are in place across all sites to upscale Critical Care capacity should that be required.

Due to the rapid increase in the number of patients with confirmed COVID-19 being admitted to hospitals, all elective work has been suspended across the Group, aside from emergency surgery and only time critical elective cancer surgery are being scheduled.

Management at the hospitals acknowledge that staying at home and staying isolated will be very difficult. Nevertheless, hospitals want to remind people again that they can save lives by staying at home and following the current Government and Public Health guidelines.