29th Jun, 2022

Doctors warn West Midlands will run out of intensive care beds If ‘stay at home’ advice ignored - and Birmingham Airport could host morgue

John Carlon 27th Mar, 2020

A DOCTOR at a local clinical commissioning group has said he remains confident hospitals can treat coronavirus patients.

He spoke as the West Midlands is predicted by Public Health England to become the next ‘hotspot’ for the deadly virus.

Latest figures show there are more than 11,600 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, and 578 people have died.

As deaths rise again today (March 27), West Midlands Police are preparing to create a huge morgue at Birmingham Airport.

Dr William Taylor, clinical director at the Birmingham and Solihull CCG, said: “In Birmingham and Solihull we have been rapidly ramping up our capacity to ventilate patients who need it.

“There are still ventilators around the region which can help us and in terms of capacity I think we have enough.

“But all this is really dependent on everyone helping to flatten that curve – as long as we are observing social isolation to reduce the spread.

“If that doesn’t happen we will see far more cases than we should.

“I know that if the public steps up to the plate, we should have capacity in our intensive care units to deal with coronavirus.”

This afternoon (March 27), Press Association reported Birmingham Airport is in line to turn a hangar into a temporary morgue.

Police say they are preparing for a predicted rise in coronavirus deaths around the West Midlands.

The airport hangar would receive all deaths in hospitals across the region, even those unrelated to the coronavirus.

Senior coroner for Birmingham, Louise Hunt, told PA: “We understand that it is a very difficult time for everyone and we will do all that we can to make sure bereaved families understand what is happening to their loved ones and to release them for funeral as soon as we can.”

A West Midlands coordinator for Public Health England, Dr Helen Carter, said: “We are now very much on the upward curve of the coronavirus pandemic. There have been lots of cases in London, and it now looks as if the West Midlands will be the next wave outside London.

“We are [only recording] hospital deaths at the moment so we are working with coroners, as it is not unexpected that we will now see coronavirus deaths in the community.”

She also warned care homes must be protected from new infections. “If care homes fall it will have a tremendous impact on the NHS,” Dr Carter said.

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