Northamptonshire hospitals dealing with more Covid patients ahead of end to free testing

Health chiefs warning virus has not gone away after eight deaths and cases doubling

By Kevin Nicholls
Thursday, 17th March 2022, 2:45 pm

Health chiefs are warning Covid has not gone away after a 19 percent rise in virus patients in Northamptonshire hospitals in just six days.

NHS England data published showed 95 patients with Covid-19 — 48 in Kettering General Hospital and 47 at Northampton General Hospital — on Tuesday (March 15) compared to 80 the previous Wednesday.

NHS Data also showed eight people have sadly died while being treated for coronavirus between March 8 and March 15, including six at KGH.

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Free Covid tests are already in short supply before being scrapped completely from April 1

Known cases in the county have almost trebled since Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched his 'Living with Covid' plans on February 24 with more than 900 a day testing positive — although many believe hundreds could be carrying the virus without knowing it as free testing kits are already in short supply.

And health chiefs locally say Mother's Day could spark another surge as families get together.

West Northamptonshire's interim public health director, Sally Burns, said: "We’re seeing more re-infections in younger age groups than others which often then translates into household transmission.

"Families will be meeting up in restaurants, pubs and homes all over Northamptonshire with loved ones to celebrate Mothering Sunday. However, with Covid-19 still in circulation it’s vitally important that we do what we can to protect those we love."

"That's why really important to get youngsters vaccinated even if they have already had Covid-19 — and to stay home if you have ANY of the main symptoms of Covid-19."

■ Click HERE for up-to-date information on where you can get a Covid vaccination jab TODAY or HERE to book via the NHS

Some experts also fear another surge in cases from the latest highly-transmissable variant, dubbed Deltacron, once free lateral flow tests are officially scrapped on April 1.

Complaints surfaced this week about rapid home tests already being unavailable via the Government website.

At least one local authority plans to carry on providing residents with free kits rather than force them to pay up to £6 for a single swab.

Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson told The News: "I'm very worried about infection rates and we need to be supporting people who are being responsible and trying to do the right thing and get tested before seeing vulnerable friends and family members."

The NHS figures published on Thursday (March 17) will include patients in hospital for other reasons that also test positive for Covid-19.

But these patients will still require extra infection control measures to limit the spread. The disease can also add to other health issues, putting people with long-term conditions at a greater risk of severe coronavirus.

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