The Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses (MUMN) expressed serious concern on Sunday about a sharp rise in COVID-19 patients in intensive care.
"This morning 15 COVID-positive patients are in the intensive care unit compared to last week when there were only six COVID-19 patients," the union said.
It observed that the Mater Dei Hospital had increased staff in ITU by deploying nurses from a relief pool but said that this implied that with the depletion of nurses from the pool, MDH does not have enough nurses to open new wards if admissions continued to increase.
The union urged the public to observe directives to stop the spread of the virus.
"The general public should be aware that if the hospital is overwhelmed with patients, there would be no other option but a lockdown due to the fact that there will be no room for the sick in MDH anymore," it said.
"Nobody wants a lockdown, including the nurses and all healthcare workers, but if the hospital is overwhelmed with patients, then all freedom and entertainment would be lost. The numbers of covid positive patients are increasing at a very high rate in MDH and the nurses/doctors are doing their utmost to cope with the huge demand that such admissions are bringing about. This is just the tip of the iceberg since winter has not even started and more cases would be expected. So, the general public should stop having social gathering in their own homes, stop inviting relatives in their homes and adhere more rigorously to social distancing and other measures."
The union also appealed to the Health Department to increase the number of nurses at Mater Dei.
It said that despite boasting that 200 nurses are to be employed soon, only five nurses have been employed at MDH.
"Shouting in parliament is not an option any more since it is the results which count and MUMN expects that such needed 200 nurses from Third Country Nationals are to be employed immediately since MDH nurses are already working under highly stressful conditions due to shortage of staff," the MUMN said.
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