Sydney hospitals are bracing for a surge of COVID-19 patients amid fears it will push intensive care units to their limits as the coronavirus outbreak continues to grow at a significant rate.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said modelling from health experts that charts the state’s path out of lockdown showed intensive care units were likely to experience the peak of COVID-19 patients in early to mid October.
Currently there are 1071 coronavirus patients in hospital, including 177 of those in intensive care.
The modelling, which focuses on virus loads across the state’s health system, charts how case numbers will affect hospitals and health workers such as paramedics.
NSW has a “surge capacity” of 1550 beds in intensive care units designed to ease the load on the health system.
Dr Nhi Nguyen, who works in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Nepean Hospital, has detailed the preparations ICUs have been making for the Delta strain of the virus.
“Earlier this year, we heard about the pandemic coming through India as the Delta wave,” Dr Nguyen said.
“And although there was this lull over Christmas, there was all this work being done in the background and since about March or April we have started to ramp that up again.
“And we have been fortunate that none of those plans that we spend working on in 2020 had time to gather dust.”
In the past week more than 750,000 NSW residents received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Ms Berejiklian has said that more than 40 per cent of NSW residents are now double dose vaccinated, while more than 73 per cent have received a single dose.
She said once the state reaches a 70 per cent double dose vaccination rate, those who are fully vaccinated will likely only interact with others who are also fully vaccinated.
This will reduce the number of hospitalisations as a result of COVID-19.
Ms Berejiklian also extended her sympathies to the families of the five people who died in the past 24 hours.
Among the deaths was a man in his 90s from south-east Sydney, who died at St George Hospital.
He was a resident of St George Aged Care Facility in Bexley and acquired his infection there.
The other deaths include:
- A woman in her 80s from northern Sydney died at Ryde Hospital.
- A woman in her 50s from western Sydney died at Westmead Hospital.
- A woman in her 80s from western Sydney died at Westmead Hospital.
- A man in his 60s from Southern Highlands died at home.
NSW Health said in a statement it extended its deepest sympathies to their loved ones.
There have been 131 COVID-19 related deaths in NSW since 16 June 2021, and 187 in total since the start of the pandemic.