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Here's what the Covid-19 self-isolation and step-down care centre will look like in Dublin

The centre is expected to be operational this week, with more centres to be established in Cork, Limerick and Galway.

49 HSE Isolation Step Down Facility The step-down care operation at Citywest Hotel and Convention centre. Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

A NEW SELF-ISOLATION and step-down centre is to come into operation from next week at the Citywest Hotel and Conference centre in Dublin. 

The centre is being set up to ease pressures on hospitals in the Dublin region and surrounding areas as the number of people expected to test positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus increases in the coming weeks. 

The chief operations officer at the HSE, Anne O’Connor, today said she expects the outbreak in Ireland will peak between 10 and 14 April but that pressures will remain on the HSE during and after that peak. 

She repeated calls for the public to strictly adhere to the restrictions introduced by the Government on the recommendation of the National Public Health Emergency Team. 

The Citywest centre will serve two functions for the HSE over the coming weeks – a self-isolation facility and a step-down facility – and will be the first in a number of facilities set up throughout the country. 

Step-down care

The step-down care facility will provide 450 beds allocated to people who have tested positive and are recovering from the virus. 

55 HSE Isolation Step Down Facility Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

“It is what we call an overflow step-down facility. This may be people who have recently been in hospital, treated for Covid-19, but are not yet fit to return home and in need of ongoing monitoring and care,” CEO of the HSE, Paul Reid said. 

“It is a facility that we hope not to use. Our primary area of treatment for people who need acute treatment will be in our hospitals and that’s the primary place people will go.

“We are very conscious, and the experience all over the world is, that we have to plan for the worst case scenario.”

79 NO FEE HSE Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

The convention centre floor will be separated into groups, each with dedicated nursing stations and supports, for the period until a person can return home. 

O’Connor said a similar facility will be set up in other large urban areas throughout the country, indicating that Cork, Limerick and Galway would each have their own centre to treat patents in the surrounding regions.

Self-isolation

The self-isolation part of the centre will have the capacity to accommodate 750 people who will self-isolate at the rooms in the Citywest hotel.

“It will support those who are asymptomatic, those who have mild symptoms and may be waiting on a test, or test results, and can’t remain at home, and those who have positive results and mild symptoms but cannot self-isolate at home,” Reid said. 

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Some of the rooms will have a double capacity allowing for couples or families who can self-isolate together. 

There will be a dedicated exercise areas and meals will be provided throughout the stay. 

“This is, in essence, the first of our putting in place of temporary locations for both isolation and for temporary step-down care. In doing that, they are exactly what we are saying: they are temporary. 

“Our operational planning is on the basis that they may well be needed because that has been the experience in many other countries. 

“We say it’s temporary and there are two aspects… the first is isolation, and the second is temporary beds for people who are stepping down from more acute hospital care but not quite ready to return home. 

“Our first instance will be to treat people in hospitals but this is part of our operational planning.”

9c9e072c-f804-4827-8c71-8ec66e27c6ec Patients will receive information booklets and supplies for the duration of their stay.

The centre will be stocked with personal protective equipment, much of which is due to arrive from China over the coming days, Reid said. 

The first of ten flights, carrying gloves, eye protection, gowns and masks, landed this afternoon, with nine more deliveries expected by Wednesday. 

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