The National and University Hospital announced that it was going into Alert Phase on Friday afternoon, Vísir reports. The hospital’s preparedness committee made the decision in collaboration with pandemic authorities. The Alert Phase entails visitation curtailments and other restrictions, the better to free up hospital staff to work with COVID patients.
When the hospital goes on Alert Phase, operations such as minor procedures, interventions, and outpatient services are curtailed. This frees up staff who can then be moved to cover COVID wards.
An announcement on the hospital Facebook page states that an increased number of recent COVID-19 infections will result in an uptick in admissions in the coming week. The length of stay for unvaccinated patients and those who require intensive care is longer than for those who are fully vaccinated. This makes it difficult for hospital management to predict what patient flow will be. A good in- and outflow of patients is key to having enough beds for admitted patients on any given day.
“There are currently 1,082 patients under observation in the COVID ward,” reads the Facebook post. “Three patients are in intensive care, all of whom are on ventilators and one of whom is on heart and lung support. The infectious disease ward now has 13 patients, and is quickly approaching its capacity. We’ve begun moving patients from the pulmonary ward to create space for COVID patients, but we expect to have at least three admissions every day for the next few days.”
As of midnight Friday, there is a ban on all hospital visitors. As per previous visitation bans, department managers can make exemptions on a case by case basis.
Inpatients will only be allowed leave privileges if such are thought to be necessary preparation for discharge and/or part of their rehabilitation. Permission will be contingent on the patient only meeting with a very few people and only visiting one external location while on leave.
All meetings held by hospital staff will be conducted virtually.
The hospital also stressed the importance of continued mask use and a 1-metre [3 ft] distance between individuals within the hospital. When taking off masks to eat, individuals must observe a social distance of 2-metres [6 ft]. Staff members are also encouraged to seek booster shots, as data shows that this significantly improves antibody response and helps combat the Delta variant of the virus.