Inside Sydney’s COVID-19 intensive care unit

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to surge across Sydney, more patients have been admitted to hospital – some in a critical condition.

Sydney Morning Herald Photographer Kate Geraghty was today given special permission to enter one of Sydney’s intensive care units where gravely ill patients are being treated for the Delta variant.

The ward, located at St Vincent’s Hospital, is known as the red zone and is dedicated exclusively to COVID-19 cases.

Inside Sydney’s ICU ward at St Vincent’s hospital a patient struggles to breathe. (9News)

Patients in the ward are fitted with ventilators to help them breath as the virus attacks their lungs and respiratory system.

Every patient has their own dedicated team to ensure constant care.

For nurses, dressed head to toe in full PPE to stop cross infection, there’s no downtime as they continuously monitor and assess vital signs to ensure their patient doesn’t deteriorate.

Across Greater Sydney there are 20 people in intensive care, six of those at St Vincents, but the hospital is bracing for more as the Delta strain continues to make its mark on the city.

Nurses in the ‘red zone’ are dressed fully in PPE to protect themselves against infection. (9News)

The hospital has increased staff in the red zone, cut surgeries and opened up dedicated beds on the ward for COVID-19 patients.

Doctors are seeing a disproportionate number of younger patients in ICU … some with no underlying health conditions.

Of the people in intensive care, one is in their 20s, two are in their 30s and another two are in their 40s.

“It can happen, its less likely to lead to death in younger age groups but it can still be a serious illness requiring admission into ICU,” the state’s Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant warned.

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