NSW’s Covid ‘surge plan’ revealed

NSW officials have revealed their plan to handle the expected surge in Covid ICU cases expected to hit the state by next month.

Sydney coronavirus hotspots will see up to 2000 cases per day within the next two weeks, and by the beginning of November 560 people will be in intensive care units, according to modelling released by the NSW government on Monday.

The modelling, based on analysis by the Burnet Institute, was released as state health officials are bracing for a surge in Covid-19 hospitalisations that’s expected to hit before the effect of mass vaccination kicks in.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she received modelling late last week that showed pressure on intensive care units would peak by “early to mid-October”.

However the modelling released by NSW Health showed the peak just before the beginning of November.

The Premier said the number of Covid-19 patients in ICU was currently 177 and that the number of people in intensive care without Covid-19 was usually about 400.

But surge modelling released on Monday predicts up to 560 admissions from Covid alone by November.

The state has capacity to treat a total of 1550 ICU patients at the same time.

“So just to give people that reassurance, we certainly don’t want to have to use all those beds and staff, because we know what pressure that would put on the system,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“But I want everybody to be reassured that the capacity is there.”

The modelling, which was marked with a release date of August 25, shows the state is currently experiencing ”minimal” impact on ICU operations.

That‘s projected to change at the weekend, when there will be a “moderate” impact that means ICUs will be ”approaching maximal operational capacity”.

By October 9, the surge in Covid-19 cases is expected to have a “severe” impact on ICU operations.

“Overall demand for critical care (will be) exceeding ICU operational capacity”, the modelling predicts.

By the final week of October, ICU operations will experience an “overwhelming” impact, and demand for critical care services will ”significantly” exceed the capactiy.

That pressure will persist until the second week of November, when demand on beds will ease a bit and ICU services will experience a “severe” level of impact again.

At the peak around the beginning of November, the modelling predicts 947 people could be in ICU, including those who need treatment for non-Covid reasons.

More to come.

Originally published as NSW braces for surge in Covid-19 hospitalisations by October

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