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Hospital is coping with covid numbers – just

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By Marc Mclean, Local Democracy Reporter
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Hospital is coping with covid numbers - just

HEALTH chiefs are aiming to resume surgeries in Dumfries and Galloway hospitals as they get on top of the covid situation.

Jeff Ace, chief executive of NHS Dumfries and Galloway, is now cautiously optimistic after the health board was stretched to its limits over the summer.

While there are still high numbers of positive cases in the community, Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary is coping with covid numbers.

At last week’s health board meeting, Jeff Ace said: “We’re almost becoming immune to the very high levels of case numbers in the community where we’re still seeing 100-150 positive tests a day.

“That gives us a rate up at 550-600 per 100,000 – which is extraordinarily high if you think about the points in the pandemic.

“That’s been consistently high for a few weeks now. That has translated to an increase in hospital activity, and last week we reached about 40 patients in hospital.

“We’re not seeing exponential growth in patients in hospital. We are not seeing exponential growth in critical care.

“Given our success in vaccinations where we’re now at 91 percent of the adult population being double jabbed, it is possible to be fairly assured that we are not going to see that leap into exponential growth in hospital numbers.

“That is still a planning assumption with big margins of error, but our best estimate is that we are likely to see a levelling off at slightly higher numbers than we have at the moment.

“Then hopefully we’ll have a decline into early October. It’s that planning assumption that’s allowing us to look at the resumption of some of our larger elective surgery.

“But it is a planning assumption. It has the ability to be confounded by the virus as we have in the past.

“This is when we need to keep very close eyes on the situation.

“At the moment, covid is manageable in DGRI but remember this is a system that is close to running at 100 per cent occupancy.

“So, every one of those admissions is causing us to drop further behind in our attempts to see people rapidly in A&E and to admit people rapidly through to the wards etc.

“A levelling off and a potential decline is a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel, and if that comes to pass in early October then we will all be very pleased indeed.

“But still a very fragile situation at the moment and I would really like to see those community numbers dropping.”

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