Doctors urge public to 'be mindful' of Covid as Northampton General Hospital admits 22 extra virus patients in a single day
More pressure on beds as one in seven occupied by coronavirus cases
Northampton General Hospital saw Covid patients admitted at a rate of one every 65 minutes during a single 24-hour period this week as pressure on bed space grew.
NHS England figures published on Thursday (February 3) showed 84 Covid patients in NGH at 8am on Sunday and 106 at the same time Monday morning.
The number of Covid patients at NGH and Kettering General Hospital had increased to 193 by February 1 — 101 in NGH and 92 at KGH — from 159 a week earlier meaning nearly 14 percent — one in seven — of the hospitals' 1,400 beds were committed to people with one condition.
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A hospitals spokesperson said: “Covid-19 is still widespread in the local community and this translates into how many people are in hospital beds with the condition.
"Numbers on Thursday (February 3) were 179 beds with Covid-positive patients across the two Trusts — 101 in NGH and 78 at KGH. We hope this number continues to fall.
“We would urge local people to be mindful of Covid-19, to test themselves if they have any symptoms, to isolate themselves if they test positive, and to ensure they are fully vaccinated against the worst effects of the disease.
"We would continue to urge people to use NHS 111 to assess their needs and not to go to A&E unless absolutely necessary."
The figures come in the wake of a rise in cases during January which pushed Northampton and Corby into the top six of areas in England with the highest weekly infection rates.
Regional NHS data suggests that Covid was the primary reason for admission of just under half of those currently in hospitals across the East Midlands.
But 69 people have sadly died while receiving treatment for the virus at Northamptonshire's two main NHS Trusts since January 1.
One doctor wrote this week: "Covid deaths are now seen as a trade-off by the government, rather than a tragedy."
The government has refused to rule out stopping the daily publication of Covid deaths after a senior Whitehall source told the i newspaper that Boris Johnson wants to end the updates by Easter at the latest.
“Ending the daily Covid death toll is part of the Prime Minister’s strategy of living with Covid,” added the Whitehall source. “It is hoped that taking the focus away from the Covid figures will also help people move on with their lives.”
The move is also likely to please a number of Tory backbenchers who have opposed lockdowns and other Covid restrictions.
Public Health Northamptonshire director Lucy Wightman warned this week the county's infection figures could be much higher than thought after ministers removed requirements for those with positive lateral flow results to also take follow-up PCR tests.
Mrs Wightman said: "We know everybody is not as disciplined as they could be about recording lateral flow results.
"Test results we do see are probably the tip of the iceberg.
"We are relying on people taking personal responsibility and, even if they don't record a positive test on the system, they still adhere to the required isolation periods because that is going to be key to how we progress over the next few weeks."