A stern warning was issued by a senior physician who compared the coronavirus case rate in Gwent in Italy.
So far there have been 309 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the area of the health council of the Aneurin Bevan University, and five deaths have been recorded since Sunday at Newport’s Royal Gwent Hospital and Nevill Hall in Abergavenny.
According to British government data, Gwent has the highest concentration of confirmed coronavirus cases out of 100,000 people outside London.
Speaking on Wednesday, the public health director of the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Dr. Sara Aitken, said that Gwent’s health service could be “overwhelmed” if government recommendations were not respected.
Dr Aitken said: “In Gwent, we are seeing a rapid increase in the number of coronavirus cases in all our communities and a daily increase in the number of people hospitalized and in the number of people dying from the virus.
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“The pattern we are seeing in Gwent is the same as what we see in Italy, where their healthcare system is now overwhelmed.
“Without much effort from all of us, we are heading for the moment to Gwent, where even our NHS will be overwhelmed. We will not have enough hospital beds for all those who need life-saving fans and intensive care.
“By following government instructions while staying at home, you are giving us as essential moorland time to bring more doctors and nurses into our workforce so that we can open extra beds in the hospital, have extra fans and intensive care beds, giving us the best possible possibilities to take care of everyone who needs it in the coming weeks. “
So far in Wales, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases is 628, with 22 deaths recorded since Wednesday.
The real number of cases is believed to be much higher.
Among the people who died in Wales is Marita Edwards who contracted the virus after attending Royal Gwent Hospital for a routine gallbladder operation.
The 80-year-old tested positive for coronavirus last Thursday after spending three weeks in the hospital and died the following day.