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11th Jan 2021

Patients treated in ambulances at Letterkenny Hospital amid escalation of Covid-19 cases

Conor Heneghan

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With a large amount of staff absent due to Covid-19, the hospital is under “extreme pressure”.

Patients at Letterkenny University Hospital were treated in ambulances at the weekend as the hospital came under “extreme pressure” due to an increase in the number of patients requiring treatment for Covid-19.

The hospital has apologised to patients who had to wait in ambulances for treatment, saying that large numbers of suspected and confirmed patients presenting for treatment for Covid-19 resulted in delays admitting patients through the dedicated Covid-19 zone in the hospital.

Patients were assessed in ambulances to ensure they were treated in clinical priority, the hospital said, and extra staffing has since been secured to make a further 11 beds available.

The concerning situation in Letterkenny hospital comes as it emerged that, as of 8pm on Sunday night, 1,499 people in Ireland were being treated in hospital for Covid-19.

Paul Reid, Chief Executive of the HSE, said on Sunday that the healthcare system in Ireland is “under increasing strain” and that healthcare staff “will be dealing with increased pressure and strain next week”.

Reid said that there were signs that the public health measures introduced and actions taken by the public were starting to be of benefit and urged the public to continue to retreat to the safety of their homes.

“What we do today helps them to save lives,” Reid said.

On Sunday (10 January), 6,888 new cases of Covid-19 and eight further deaths were confirmed in Ireland.

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