Huge concerns as hospitals in Northern Ireland come under serious pressure from second Covid-19 surge

Doctor describes situation 'as the worst week for the NHS in living memory and it looks likely next week will be even worse'

Huge concerns as hospitals in Northern Ireland come under serious pressure from second Covid-19 surge

Hospitals in the north coming under serious pressure in second Covid-19 wave

A further 722 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hours in Northern Ireland, bringing the total number of infections to 35,554 since the pandemic began.

A further 13 people have died in the region after contracting Covid-19, the Department of Health has confirmed.

There are 360 Covid-19 patients in hospital, with 38 patients in intensive care, according to the Belfast Telegraph. 

Thirty-three Covid-19 patients are currently ventilated.

Warning as hospitals under significant pressure

The newspaper reports that there are 105 outbreaks at care homes in Northern Ireland and hospital occupancy in Northern Ireland is now sitting at 102%.

It comes as the Health and Social Care Board warned that hospitals are currently under "significant pressure" with healthcare staff struggling to cope with the second Covid-19 wave.

The board said that "very ill patients are waiting for hospital beds" and asked patients who are deemed fit to be discharged to a community setting to accept a bed offered to them by Trusts and for their families to support the discharge.

Patients have been asked not to attend the A&E department unless they require urgent medical attention.

Doctor says worse week for NHS in living memory

Dr Tom Black, of the British Medical Association told BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme that the NHS is being hit with a "triple whammy", with huge numbers of staff off sick, winter pressures and a pandemic to deal with.

He said: "I have had dozens of emails, text messages and phone calls over the last 24 hours from doctors throughout the five trusts. The demand for capacity has reached a crescendo where we are now starting to exceed the capacity of hospitals to cope with this."

He added: "To be frank it is the worst I have seen in my 35 years career. That would be the same for all doctors in NI. We have never seen anything like this. This is the worst week for the NHS in living memory and it looks likely next week will be even worse."

Dr Black said NI has a "very difficult" month ahead.

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