April 6, 2020 2.52 pm This story is over 42 months old

Hospitals chief expects surge in coronavirus cases “in next few weeks”

So far the trust has been “coping well” said hospital bosses

Lincolnshire’s hospitals boss says he is expecting a surge in coronavirus cases to begin over the next two or three weeks.

On Sunday, there were 87 cases across United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust sites in Lincoln, Grantham and Boston.

There have been 252 across the county since the pandemic started, with 24 deaths.

However, chief executive Andrew Morgan said the trust had been “coping well’ so far.

He said: “I don’t think we’ve hit the surge period, yet, either nationally or locally.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure our capacity is available for those patients. So wards get moved around, staff get moved around. We make sure our intensive care capacity is sufficient.

“And as I say at the moment, I think we’re coping well, but we’re expecting a harder time over the coming few weeks.”

Currently the trust has more than 430 of its 920 beds empty because “routine work” has dropped off under the lockdown, however, it has plans in place which will give it an extra 200 if needs be – a total of 1,120 beds.

Under the predicted surge, the trust is planning for at least 70% of its intensive care beds to be filled with respiratory patients, and the department will rise from 18 beds to 80.

The trust currently has 64 ventilators to cover needs and is currently trying to model how many will be needed in the future.

Mr Morgan said clearer guidance over personal protective equipment was helping provide clarity over supplies and that so far there was enough stock.

However, he said it was currently a “just-in-time” approach and there were “tricky” days due to a lack of stock supplies.

But, he was confident “the national delivery model will anticipate people’s requirements”.

“I’m not saying we will not have enough PPE for the surge we are planning to have the right PPE,” he said.

Mr Morgan praised his staff for the “fantastic” work they were doing during a “stressful and anxious time” and the public for their support.

He also added to calls for members of the public to stay at home during the coronavirus lockdown, reminding people there were currently no set demographics for the virus to target.

“As we saw with the Prime Minister, it’s not just one age group it’s not just confined to the elderly, or those with underlying health conditions.

“That’s why that national message about stay at home, protect the NHS save lives is important.”

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