Seriously ill COVID patients will need to be transferred from smaller centres

Western NSW LHD Chief Executive Scott McLachlan.
Western NSW LHD Chief Executive Scott McLachlan.

If you live outside of Bathurst, Orange or Dubbo and get seriously ill with COVID, requiring admission to an intensive care unit (ICU), you will have to be transferred to one of these centres.

Health District Chief Executive Scott McLachlan confirmed today that patients requiring ICU treatment currently had to be cared for at Orange, Dubbo and Bathurst hospitals in the Western NSW Local Health District.

Asked specifically if ICU beds were available at Cowra and Forbes hospitals Mr McLachlan said: "We've got intensive care units across Orange, Dubbo and Bathurst hospitals with preparations and readiness to look after patients with COVID in those facilities".

"Those are the only facilities that will have intensive care patients, they require a lot of specialist support and particularly the ability to ventilate patients in those facilities," he said.

While ICU beds are not available in the smaller centres Mr McLachlan said this did not mean there were not capable of providing adequate care for the "acutely unwell".

"We know that there's been patients in Narromine in the past week, being very well cared for in those facilities," he said.

"We've got a good network of hospitals right across the region, we'll make sure that patients get to the right place when they need care - particularly acute or really serious intensive care across the region."

While not directly answering a question on exact numbers of intensive care beds in the region Mr McLachlan said Western NSW is comfortable it can increase its bed numbers.

"We've done a lot of work over the last 12 months to make sure that we can increase our number of intensive care beds and particularly our ventilated beds right across the whole of the region," Mr McLachlan said.

"We're very comfortable with that at the moment with the number of patients we've got in intensive care.

"The forecast over the coming weeks means that we'll still be able to manage all of the patients that we're expecting to come in within our current number of intensive care beds.

"So there's some heartening signs that we have been able to slow the spread of COVID to a degree that we can manage the number of really crook patients coming into hospital.

"Nonetheless they're going to be very crook. They're patients that are on the edge, typically that haven't been vaccinated or have underlying health conditions in some cases.

"We know that we've got two people in their 20s in hospital, two people in their 30s.

"This isn't a virus that discriminates on age, or gender, or anything else.

"This is the time to take it really seriously.

"We've seen sadly three deaths in the last 24 hours that none of us want to see.

"This is someone's mother and father, aunty and uncle, the last thing we want to see is more tragic outcomes across our region.

"We've got to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Western NSW," Mr McLachlan said.