(To watch the full press conference with sign language interpretation, click here.)
The Hospital Authority today said it has started to mobilise more intensive care unit (ICU) beds to meet the greater service demand due to the COVID-19 epidemic.
Hospital Authority Chief Executive Dr Tony Ko outlined the contingency plans for ICU bed capacity during a press conference this afternoon.
“In terms of the intensive care unit bed capacity, especially those that are able to take care of patients who require airborne isolation, we actually have different levels of contingency plans in place.”
He noted that there is support available for hospitals which have filled their ICU beds.
“At the moment, we know that patients are arranged to be cared for in different hospitals so that sometimes when one hospital may be relatively full in terms of ICU capacity than the others, we can arrange different hospitals to support each other.
“For example, if a certain hospital has all their isolation ICU beds filled, then we will transfer those patients to another hospital. It can be within the same hospital cluster or between different hospital clusters.”
Dr Ko said the authority will prepare second-tier ICU beds as well equipment and facilities for an increase in demand.
“We have also started to mobilise what we call the second stage of ICU beds because, at the moment when we talk about isolation ICU beds, we talk about patients in individual rooms, but we have the capability to mobilise more beds so that some of the beds which were previously also ICU beds but are used for the care of other general patients, we would convert some of these areas into isolation areas as well, so this will be able to take care of more patients and enable us to increase our capacity.
“We have been making a lot of preparations, like getting more equipment ready and more ventilators. In case we need to meet greater service demand, we can activate further levels of contingencies where we can arrange more clinical areas to be converted to ICUs to take care of the extra number of patients. So, we actually have different levels of contingencies, equipment and facilities available.”