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UHG urges vigilance as it deals with COVID-19 outbreak

Members of the public are being urged to stay vigilant and keep up their guard against COVID-19 especially if visiting hospitals.

University Hospital Galway (UHG) is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak, increased numbers of COVID-19 admissions along with a very significant return of non-Covid patients, similar to the national situation.

The Emergency Department is experiencing record levels of attendances and this is putting significant pressure on the hospital.

In accordance with the Health Protection Surveillance Centre guidelines, an Outbreak Control Team has been convened at UHG and is working with Public Health and Occupational Health to manage the response to a COVID-19 outbreak at the hospital. An outbreak in a healthcare setting is called when there are two or more positive cases.

Visiting restrictions are in place in areas of the hospital impacted by the outbreak. University Hospital Galway is facilitating patient visiting in all areas of the hospital not affected by the outbreak in line with national guidance. However, visitors are being asked only to attend if absolutely necessary and to be mindful of patient and staff safety.

There are more people presenting for ambulatory care and for episodic care. There are also more people coming in for deferred care because of either COVID-19 surges, cancellations or as a result of the recent cyber-attack. Many patients in the ED are being admitted with complicated illnesses, complex care-needs and require longer stays in hospital. All the while, the number of COVID-19 infections in the community is growing and resulting in hospitalisations.

In addition to the volume of activity, the throughput of scheduled care has been reduced throughout the pandemic due to the need to operate the hospital with two different pathways – one for patients with COVID-19/suspected of having COVID-19 and one for those without – and the need to social distance in all waiting rooms and clinics.

Members of the public are asked to be particularly vigilant if attending hospital for appointments or as a visitor.

People are asked to be mindful of others and to follow all guidelines.

  • Do not attend if you are showing any symptoms.
  • Do not visit patients if you are a close contact of a COVID-19 case.
  • If attending follow all the public health guidance; wash your hands, wear a mask and socially distance.

The hospital facilitates one visitor per inpatient each day between 6pm to 8pm. Only one visit per patient per day can be facilitated at the present time. Visits must be pre-arranged by family members / visitors, who should contact the relevant ward or unit in advance. Visitors are required to complete a screening checklist regarding COVID-19, prior to visiting the hospital.

UHG is also requesting that where possible, approved visitors will have received a COVID-19 vaccination, in order to minimise the risk to patients.

It is also recommended that children do not visit the hospitals, unless agreed in advance on compassionate grounds, with the ward / unit manager.

Chris Kane, General Manager of University Hospital Galway urged people to take every precaution when visiting. “We are asking our local community to be mindful of the safety of our patients and staff. Please follow all guidelines when attending at our hospitals. Levels of COVID-19 remain very high in our communities and in the hospital. If visiting the hospital, staying vigilant and cautious will help us to lower that risk.”

The article above is specific to the following Saolta hospitals:: 
University Hospital Galway (UHG)