Outbreaks of influenza, RS virus and Covid-19 led to a perfect storm in Norwegian emergency rooms and hospitals before Christmas.
– Director of the Public Health Institute (FHI), Preben Aavitsland, told Dagbladet shortly before the holiday that we should expect a lot of illnesses in Norwegian homes during the Christmas holidays.
The pressure on the health system did not ease over the Christmas weekend.
– The tip of the iceberg
– On weekends, 120 patients visit per day. By Christmas weekend, it was 175. This is probably the biggest increase we’ve ever had, in the emergency department in Kristiansand, Jofrid Jatun Hansen, to Dagbladet.
– Staff have done their best to help everyone who needs help, but the enormous pressure exceeds emergency preparedness and leads to long waiting times for patients.
The hospital in Christiansund is also experiencing great demand.
– We expect that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg, and more and more children are coming to GPs and emergency rooms, says Ole Bjørn Kittang, senior physician at the Department of Children and Youth at Sørlandet Hospital in Kristiansand. NRK.
The Drammen emergency room is also under heavy pressure this Christmas. Due to increased covid infections, respiratory infections, RS virus and influenza, employees do not have time to eat on the way between telephone exchange, call room, emergency room and observation room. Susanne Kjær, business manager at the Drammen emergency room, tells Dagbladet on Tuesday.
She now finds that the emergency department she manages is once again under pressure as a result of multiple illnesses.
– Now we’re seeing crazy infections, especially respiratory infections, he says. In addition, we have a lot of flu patients, Kjær continues.
Kjær says the staff in the emergency department are now working hard to help everyone in need, and he has to take steps to do so.
– I have hired as many staff as I can to make this Christmas work properly, he says.
He points to several factors that he believes have contributed to the challenging situation in which emergency department staff now find themselves.
– Healthcare workers are also not free to get sick, and when some GPs and people get sick, the pressure on the emergency department is even greater.
– In addition, we have a GP situation, which means we get a lot of patients from there. Although we know and see GPs being overworked, we in the emergency department are certainly affected by it, says Kejar.
The emergency manager in Drammen said the situation was so pressing that many patients had to wait long for help.
– Now that we have a lot of pressure, you should expect a waiting time. This means that patients in less urgent situations may have to wait longer.
Kjær, on the other hand, clarifies that the emergency room is available to all patients who want it, and that they will still be open around the clock.
– We are the safety net of the municipality and do not turn away any patients. We assess the severity of all patients at all times, he affirms.
Kjær is hopeful that the situation will improve soon and that admissions and infections will decrease towards the new year. However, according to the FHI, this may appear to be the beginning of a long period of epidemics that are increasing in the population.
The load will probably last
Earlier this winter, the FHI published a report showing that various viruses and infections will hit the Norwegian population at the same time, i.e. at the end of December.
– The FHI writes in its report that there is currently a large increase in respiratory infections in the population, along with covid-19, influenza and RS virus infections. Weekly Report on Covid-19 and Flu From last week.
– The number of new hospital admissions with respiratory infections is increasing and is significantly higher than during the same period in pre-pandemic years. Perhaps the Christmas holidays will reduce infections somewhat, but the FHI writes that we must prepare for a new increase and continued pressure on the health service in the new year, and hospitals and municipalities must prepare for more illness, more sickness absence in nursing homes and hospitals, more admissions and more outbreaks.
FHI recommends that people stay home if they become ill with respiratory symptoms.
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