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People's Daily Online

Top London hospital preparing for "COVID-only care" as intensive care patients soar

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:41, January 04, 2021

LONDON, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- University College hospital, one of London's biggest hospitals, is battling to accommodate the fast-rising number of COVID-19 patients across the capital, warning that it is "on track to be almost COVID-only" as intensive care patients soar, local media reported.

The hospital is scrambling to convert operating theaters and stroke wards into intensive care units, the London-based The Guardian newspaper reported.

Critical care matron Elaine Thorpe told the newspaper that she and her colleagues had set up 20 new intensive care beds on Christmas Eve, which were full by New Year's Eve.

"The biggest thing for me is I'm dreadfully worried about my team. Nurses are having to spread themselves thinly. We're going back to the levels where we were before, where it was one ICU (intensive care unit) nurse looking after what will be four patients, or more. And we've had lots of tears already," she was quoted as saying by the major British newspaper.

The 500-bed hospital had 220 COVID-19 patients as of Thursday, with the numbers increasing by 5 percent a day, according to the newspaper.

However, the real pressure is on intensive care where there are now 70 seriously ill patients, and the number is rising fast, chief executive of the University College London hospitals trust Marcel Levi told the newspaper.

Latest figures from the British National Health Service (NHS) suggested that 629 patients with COVID-19 symptoms were admitted to London hospitals on Dec. 27, 2020, 22 more than the previous day and extending a steady upward curve in recent weeks.

Across London, the number of hospital beds filled with COVID-19 patients stood at 5,371 on Dec. 29, 2020, more than 400 above the previous day's total and nearly double the level on Dec. 19, 2020, the London-based Evening Standard newspaper reported.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in some countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 232 candidate vaccines were still being developed worldwide -- 60 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to the World Health Organization.

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