The Vega Baja hospital begins to suspend operations and refer patients to other centres so as to free up more intensive care beds
With a third of the Intensive Care beds occupied by coronavirus patients, hospitals in the province are beginning to take measures to avoid overload and to maintain, as far as possible, surgical activities in their operating theatres.
There are already three hospitals that have now introduced plans to increase the number of beds for seriously ill patients in the event of an increase in hospitalisations. These are the General Hospitals of Alicante, Orihuela and Elda.
The Orihuela Hospital is the one that is currently under most pressure. Yesterday, Monday, there were 17 patients admitted to the ICU, of which 15 are due to covid. The hospital has a maximum of 21 ventilator beds in the ICU.
Faced with this increase in patients, the centre has begun to refer patients to other hospitals in the area and to suspend operations so as not to occupy more intensive care beds.
In the General Hospital of Alicante, the multipurpose area with 15 beds has already been put into use. Non-covid patients are being admitted to it and, although they are not in a critical condition, they need permanent monitoring. In this way, beds are freed up to be able to admit other critically ill patients, maintaining the double covid and non-covid circuits, as is required by current protocols.
Currently the General Hospital of Alicante has six patients with coronavirus in Intensive Care and five in one of the areas of the Anaesthesiology service. As for the hospitalisation area, yesterday at noon there were about thirty patients admitted to two floors of the hospital.
An operational plant is also being maintained to admit patients who are awaiting a PCR.
At the moment, according to union sources, scheduled operations have not been suspended. In the neighbouring hospital of Sant Joan, the situation is slightly better. Yesterday there were only two patients in the Intensive Care Unit, so for the moment it is not necessary to resort to any contingency plan or suspend scheduled operations.
Meanwhile pressure at the General University Hospital of Elda is beginning increase to as cases of coronavirus begin to intensify. The ICU has not yet exceeded 30% of capacity but there are already two floors that have been earmarked to receive patients with covid-19.
At the moment surgical operations continue as normal as well as the external consultations, but if the number of admissions continues to grow as it has done in the last week, the Elda Health Department will intensify the measures of the contingency plan.
One of the first will be to suspend non-urgent surgical activity as well as external consultations that allow delay and thus free up spaces.
The Intensive Care Unit of the Elche General Hospital has seven patients admitted for coronavirus, which represents practically a third of the capacity of the unit which has 22 beds. To this must be added the patients in the ICU for other pathologies.
The province of Alicante currently has a reserve of 200 intensive care beds to admit critically ill patients. The Ministry of Health has also purchased 154 respirators in order to supply these additional beds.
In addition, the province has about 7,000 beds for covid patients who are not in a critical situation, 4,300 beds in the public network, more than 700 beds in private clinics, and the remainder that are situated in the field hospital of the General Hospital of Alicante, as well as in the different medicalized hotels that can be set up in each health department.