Currently, 36 individuals are in isolation at the infectious disease ward of the Landspítali National University Hospital in Reykjavík due to influenza. Patients have also been treated because of noro and RS virus infections, significantly increasing strain on staff. A level of uncertainty was declared four days ago.
“We have had to call in additional employees to man the wards that have room for extra beds,” Stefanía Arnardóttir, nurse and manager of the hospital’s infectious disease ward, said this morning on Morgunútvarpið, a radio program on RÚV’s Rás 2.
There has been a constant flow of people to the hospital’s emergency room and from there to various wards.
“It’s too soon to tell whether the peak has been reached,” Stefanía added. “We assess the situation every day and trust in the goodwill of staff to increase their workload during such circumstances.” Employees have taken on extra shifts because of the situation.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the influenza is more severe in Iceland and Norway than in other European countries.
The flu arrived earlier to Iceland than in past years, director of health and chief epidemiologist Haraldur Briem told Fréttablaðið He believes it will therefore also peak earlier than usual. “It will probably carry on through January and well into February.”
“The hospital has the authority to do everything in its power to react to the circumstances,” stated Minister of Welfare Guðbjartur Hannesson, adding state funding will be increased if necessary.
As reported earlier, a serious situation may arise at Landspítali National University Hospital as of March 1 when the resignations of 270 of the hospital’s nurses (up from 254 in December) take effect.
According to mbl.is, it became clear after a meeting on Thursday, that the nurses are not optimistic about their demands on improved wages being met in time and many are looking for work abroad, especially in Norway.
Click here to read more about the wage dispute.