Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne has given details about arrangements at Mater Dei Hospital and elsewhere for cases of Coronavirus patients.
Various preparations are ongoing at Mater Dei so that spaces like the medical school library and lecture halls are set up as wards for patients. To date, 136 beds are available at Mater Dei, and by the end of March, this number is expected to increase to 274 beds for Coronavirus patients.
The Deputy Prime Minister added that besides Mater Dei hospital, another 40 beds are in readiness with trained staff to take in patients with the Coronavirus. Dr Fearne further stated that by the end of the month, the number of available beds besides those at Mater Dei will go up to 213, and will include, among others, Boffa Hospital and another hospital.
In total, when one adds up the number of available beds outside of Mater Dei and the number in Mater Dei, the country will have 487 beds available for Coronavirus patients.
Dr Fearne explained that Mater Dei will have two emergency wards at opposite ends of the hospital, one of which will cater solely to patients with the Coronavirus. The same is being done with regard to operating theatres, with one theatre being allocated specifically for patients testing positive for Coronavirus and needing surgical intervention.
Dr Fearne further stated that the department carrying out tests for the Coronavirus is to have its resources boosted.
The Deputy Prime Minister explained that as a result of other measures being taken, the hospital is freeing up more beds, bringing up to 600 the total number of beds available for patients with the Coronavirus. This because with effect from Tuesday, non-urgent operations will not be carried out.
All emergency operations, as well as operations for fractures and cancer, will still be carried out. Dr Fearne stated that the waiting list is expected to become longer, but the forecast is that the situation will revert to normal within six months of the end of the Coronavirus pandemic.
It is also expected that there will be a request for an increase in the number of beds in the Intensive Care Unit, which presently has 20 beds. Dr Fearne said two other ITUs will be added, pushing up the number of beds for intensive care to nearly 50.
With effect from tomorrow the Dermatology Department, which had been operating from Boffa Hospital, will start operating from a building in Gzira. And Outpatients at Mater Dei will also reduce the number of appointments, except for urgent cases. Non-urgent appointments will be re-scheduled.
WITH PHOTOS: New emergency department for Covid-19 patients