Dundee’s major hospital has opened a dedicated coronavirus ward as NHS Tayside records highest rate of positive cases in Scotland.
An additional 30-bed Covid-19 ward is opening at Ninewells giving the facility a total of four in what was described as a “hospital within a hospital”.
On Thursday, there were 61 Covid patients in the hospital with 11 in critical care, with the number expected to rise.
The health board’s director of public health Dr Emma Fletcher said this was the highest number the region had seen since February 11, with the positive case rate per 100,000 people more than ten times what it was a few weeks ago.
“The reality is that today in Ninewells our clinical teams are having to open another ward to accommodate patients who have Covid,” she said.
“Unfortunately, there are young people right now with Covid in Ninewells not only in our general wards but also in our intensive care unit and our high dependency unit.”
Dr Fletcher urged young people to get vaccinated by taking advantage of the drop-in clinics set up across the area.
NHS Tayside’s operational medical director Dr Pamela Johnston said the new ward is in addition to the Covid Intensive Care and High Dependency Unit for those who have more serious coronavirus symptoms.
She said: “As we did in the previous two spikes of Covid-19 when we created a hospital within a hospital, our clinical teams have been changing the footprint of Ninewells to ensure we can continue to provide safe and effective care for the people of Tayside.
“Today there are 61 Covid-19 patients in Ninewells, including 11 patients who require more specialist care in our critical care unit. This is the highest number of patients we have seen for some weeks and we expect that this number may rise further over the coming days.
“Please get vaccinated, get tested and continue to follow the guidance.”
The First Minister said the government is considering making NHS staff who have had two doses of the coronavirus vaccine exempt from having to self-isolate if they are a close contact of a positive case.
Health boards across the country have reported staffing shortages as many are made to quarantine amid rising pressure on the healthcare system.