Posted: Thu 21st May 2020

Updated: Thu 21st May

NHS Wales Chief Exec: “We don’t want to throw this away over the forthcoming bank holiday weekend and beyond”

Wrexham.com for people living in or visiting the wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Thursday, May 21st, 2020

The NHS Wales Chief Executive has today raised his concerns over potential future peaks of coronavirus, as well as urging people not to “throw the work of the last few weeks away “over the Bank Holiday weekend and beyond”.

Speaking at the daily Welsh Government briefing Dr Andrew Goodall explained how the NHS appeared to be coping, with hospitals generally at the usual ‘green’ status with about 38% of acute hospital beds are empty, around 2600 beds.

Dr Goodall noted that “this is lower than last week because we are seeing a return to normal NHS activity.”

There are currently 493 people with confirmed coronavirus in hospital and a further 355 suspected cases in Wales. This is lower than last week but similar to the beginning of April.



It was explained there are 55 people are being treated in critical care beds for coronavirus, this is lower than last week.

Dr Goodall said: “The majority of people being treated in critical care do not have coronavirus now, which also shows more NHS work is taking place.

“Up to yesterday based on our operational data, the total number of people admitted to hospital with coronavirus symptoms since the outbreak started was just over 7464 patients have been treated in critical care across Wales.

“More than 5000 patients have been discharged from hospital, and most people who have had Coronavirus of course have not needed hospital treatment.

“I’ve been asked over recent weeks about how coronavirus varies across Wales. Community transmission is falling although daily cases continue to fluctuate. Over the last week there have been between 100-200 confirmed cases a day.

“There have been some recent increases in reported positive cases in the community in North Wales. This could be a late epidemic search, but we believe it’s linked to increased testing activity, and targeting specific settings like care homes.

“These have not converted into a higher level of hospital admissions, cases in hospitals, and critical care beds across North Wales have reduced from that peak.

“The number of cases in North Wales has remained generally lower in terms of proportion of cases than other areas of Wales.”

Dr Goodall spent part of his update focusing on critical care, explaining less than 10% of people admitted to hospital with coronavirus are admitted to critical care and the average age of those is just 56.

Three quarters of people in critical care are mechanically ventilated within the first 24 hours, with 85% of people receiving advanced respiratory support, and 44% received basic respiratory support with the typical time for respiratory support being around 11 days.

In some cases, people have been on a ventilator for up to three weeks as well as receiving support for their cardiovascular system.

Dr Goodall added: “We are seeing lots of people leaving critical care units and hospitals after many many weeks of receiving the most intensive care that the NHS can offer.

“Recovery from coronavirus varies from person to person but for those who spent more than a few days in critical care, they will require significant ongoing support. Access to rehabilitation is essential.

“Even today with 137 beds occupied, critical care continues to be under pressure and in some areas is operating above normal levels in surge beds.

“We’ve seen some exceptional efforts from the NHS to treat people in Wales. We don’t want to throw this away over the forthcoming bank holiday weekend and beyond.

“For the time being the advice remains to stay at home to protect yourself and your loved ones. Please continue to support our NHS and care system by following our advice to stay at home. And if you do go out please stay local.

Dr Goodall also briefly spoke about modelling and future possible peaks of the virus, warning: “As I’ve openly said in these press conferences myself, I am still worried that the modelling, alongside how we exit from lockdown, could still indicate a second and possibly a third peak if we’re not careful.

“I know from a Welsh Government perspective and certainly from a First Minister perspective, an ongoing cautious and progressive approach is really important, but we will continue to need to rely on the support of the welsh population.”

You can view the full brief and Q&As below:



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