Northamptonshire NHS "running hot" with more staff off, more Covid cases and more people through the door
Hospital chiefs reveal 1,400 more people a month seeking treatment compared to two years ago
Hospital chiefs say pressure is piling back on Northamptonshire's NHS as more Covid-19 patients are being admitted and staff are forced to self-isolate.
Latest figures showed 24 people occupying beds at Northampton and Kettering general hospitals and requiring treatment for coronavirus today (Friday).
And the number of staff missing shifts while having to self-isolate has DOUBLED in a week.
But Sheran Oke, director of nursing, midwifery and patient services, revealed increased pressure is not just down to Covid.
She said: "The two hospitals dealt with 1,400 extra patients last month compared to June 2019, before the pandemic. That brings a risk of overcrowding and Covid transmission.
"Many NHS services are running hot with lots of patients seeking attention and we would urge people to seek advice from 111 or local pharmacies first so that NHS and GPs can concentrate on those most in need."
Nearly 4,000 people in Northamptonshire were pinged by NHS Test and Trace in the week up to July 7 and told to self-isolate because they had been in close contact with someone who later tested positive.
And the majority of new cases in the county have been among the 10-19 age group.
Officials say the majority of those in NHS beds are not fully vaccinated and some are as young as teenagers, although they may not have been admitted because of Covid.
Ms Oke added: "As of yesterday (Thursday), 136 staff were off due to having to self-isolate, many because their children have to or because they have been in close contact with someone testing positive.
"That is almost double numbers from a month ago.
"Pressure at the front door leads to added pressure on beds and we have seen a small but concerning growth in the number of patients.
"The number, however, does not does not compare with what we saw during the second peak as a proportion of the number of cases in the community."
Numbers in hospitals have risen steadily since June 7 when there were no Covid patients and as followed a significant rise in positive tests county-wide.
Yesterday's government bulletin showed 473 new cases in the latest 24-hour period, the highest daily total since January.
The gov.uk website has now reported 1,875 positive tests in the county during the week to July 15 — compared to Public Health Northamptonshire's official weekly total of 1,349 up to last Sunday.