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Families urged to take loved ones home to ease Covid pressure on hospitals

31 Dec 2021 3 minute read
Ambulances waiting at Morriston Hospital. Image Nation Cymru

Swansea Bay health board is asking families with relatives in hospital to consider bringing them home if they are well enough to be looked after in the community to ease the pressure on the NHS caused by the surge in Covid cases fuelled by the spread of the Omicron variant.

Infection rates have reached record levels across Wales in recent days and according to the latest figures hospital admissions due to the virus have gone up by 36% in the last week.

Public Health Wales has also reported 11 further deaths due to Covid in the last 24 hours and 10,393 people have tested positive for the virus.

Swansea Bay health board recorded four of the newly recorded deaths and there were also four deaths in Hywel Dda and three in Betsi Cadwaladr.

A top health official has warned that because of the surge in cases the chance of contracting the virus in hospital is greater than ever and says that if families were able to look after relatives at home or could arrange an alternative such as a care home, they would be supporting their local NHS at a time of great need.

“A hospital is the best place to be if you are seriously unwell,” Dr Keith Reid, Swansea Bay’s Director of Public Health, said.

“But it is not such a great place to be if you are well enough to be in the community.

“Despite stringent measures it is not possible to keep Covid out of our hospitals and sadly some people have succumbed to it as a result.

“There is also the risk of contracting other infections.”


With hospital visiting severely restricted because of high community infection rates, patients could also feel lonely and isolated, Dr Reid added

“We would ask families with relatives in hospital who are no longer receiving active treatment to consider bringing them home, as home is much safer than hospital at the moment.”

“We recognise that not all families will be in a position to do this. But if they are able to take their loved one home and help them on their journey to recovery, they will be doing them a great favour.

“The chance of them contracting Covid or other infection at home is far lower than in hospital, and home is a better environment for them to continue their recovery.

“Families who can do this would also be helping their local NHS at a time of great need.”

Swansea Bay currently has more than 250 people in its hospitals who are medically well enough to leave but are unable to do so.

Today’s report from PHW has recorded the highest weekly infection levels in Wales since the start of the pandemic at 1,190.2 per 100,000 of the population – up from 1,092.5 yesterday and 18 of 22 local authorities in Wales now have rates over 1000.

Merthyr Tydfil has replaced Cardiff with the highest case rate in the country at 1450.5 an increase of 207.3 since yesterday’s report.

The weekly proportion of positive tests across Wales has also increased from 33.5% per 100,000 tests to 36.7%.

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