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U.K. Plans Field Hospitals to Meet Omicron Surge

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Britain’s National Health Service “is now on a war footing,” one among its high medical officers warned on Thursday, saying its hospitals would erect area wards to assist take in the influence of a document surge in coronavirus instances that has already produced an increase in hospitalizations nationally.

Cases in Britain reached new highs this week, pushed by the extremely transmissible Omicron variant, with greater than 183,000 reported throughout the nation on Wednesday — twice the very best each day rely recorded in earlier waves. And public well being specialists have stated it’s doubtless to be days earlier than the total influence of socializing over the Christmas holidays is mirrored.

“We do not yet know exactly how many of those who catch the virus will need hospital treatment,” Prof. Stephen Powis, the N.H.S. medical director for England, stated in an announcement. “But given the number of infections we cannot wait to find out before we act.”

In the assertion, the service outlined plans for short-term wards in England, known as “Nightingale hubs,” in response to the surge in Omicron instances. The first eight, every able to housing round 100 sufferers, are to be constructed on the grounds of hospitals, the place they are going to function overflow services for individuals too sick to be discharged however in want of decrease ranges of help and monitoring.

That represents a change in technique from the seven “Nightingale hospitals” that Britain constructed throughout its first Covid wave — huge services that had been designed to deal with 1000’s of sufferers on ventilators at conference facilities and different massive websites. The services had been closed within the spring after treating comparatively few individuals.

“We hoped never to have to use the original Nightingales and I hope we never to have to use these new hubs,” Professor Powis stated.

Work on the eight preliminary hubs will start as early as subsequent week, the assertion stated, including that hospitals had been requested to establish areas that may very well be transformed to accommodate sufferers, like gyms and schooling facilities, with the purpose of offering up to 4,000 so-called “super surge” beds throughout the nation.

As coronavirus instances rise, hospitals have been suggested to expedite the discharge of sufferers who had been medically in a position, and the well being service stated that hospitals have been utilizing lodges, hospice facilities and nursing houses to accommodate them.

Sajid Javid, Britain’s well being minister, stated that whereas he, too, hoped the surge hubs at hospitals wouldn’t have to be used, “it is absolutely right that we prepare for all scenarios and increase capacity.”