KGH still treating 100 Covid patients

The hospital's medical director outlined the task they are still facing at a meeting today

Kettering General Hospital.
Kettering General Hospital.

The battle against Covid-19 at KGH is taking longer to ease off than elsewhere in the country.

Professor Andrew Chilton outlined the task the Rothwell Road hospital continues to face at a meeting held virtually this morning (Friday) as the lockdown is set to be partially relaxed.

Many hospitals are starting to see reductions in the number of coronavirus patients but in Northamptonshire the number of admissions remains "steady". Yesterday we revealed Kettering was emerging as a coronavirus hotspot after a surge in new cases over the past two weeks.

As of yesterday Kettering General Hospital had 99 Covid-19 inpatients and six in intensive care - marginally smaller than the total of 108 and four respectively on May 18.

On April 20 that number was 65 Covid-19 inpatients and eight in intensive care.

When asked why our admissions had not dropped, Prof Chilton said: "I think that nationally it's very influenced by the impact of what happened in London and the West Midlands and a certain high degree of herd immunity that exists in some of those areas now.

"We are having a steady continuation of admissions within Northamptonshire at the moment. This suggests that hopefully we will be going on a downward trajectory in the not-too-distant future.

"The pandemic is still out there. The national position will be influenced by the big cities. Other areas that are more rural will have a different trajectory and that's the reason we've had a plateau here.

"The message I'd like to emphasise is that people need to be alert. People need to socially-distance, people need to take appropriate healthcare intervention measures and wash their hands."

In some of the most detailed statistics released by the hospital so far, Prof Chilton said they had 716 confirmed cases in total since the pandemic began - half the county total.

So far 180 Covid-19 patients at Rothwell Road have died, but most of them have not been in intensive care.

As of mid-May the three wards with the most deaths were Cranford (30), Harrowden C (29) and Harrowden A (24).

Dr Manjula Natarajan said two wards had been closed due to Covid transmission clusters.

She said: "We did have a cluster on a couple of wards. We have gone through it with PHE and did lots of interventions and they felt that we were within their guidance.

"One ward has already reopened and the other one is due to reopen in a couple of days. We have put in quite a lot of interventions."

So far 112 Covid deaths between mid-March and mid-May have been reviewed with victims aged between 38 and 98, with a median average age of 82-and-a-half.

They had hospital stays of up to 56 days with 60 per cent of them admitted from home. In total 11 per cent were admitted from a nursing home with 29 per cent from a residential home. The deaths were evenly split between men and women.

But there is hope. Prof Chilton said that, recently, patients who had been in intensive care for 27 days and 31 days respectively had been discharged home.

He said: "The amount of planning we put into ICU was really, really quite exceptional and prior to this I was nervous we would not be in a position to keep up. The feeling was that we'd be overwhelmed as a nation and that hasn't transpired.

"Our sickest patients have had no barriers to the right treatment. We have not had to deploy our ethics cell to support decisions.

"ITU has the appropriate capacity to support demand."

Because of social distancing the hospital has lost 53 beds - but has put in a new 18-bed Thomas Moore ward, named after the war hero who raised millions by walking around his garden, on car park A to lessen the loss in capacity.

The total number of positive Covid-19 tests at KGH rose by 82 in the 10 days up to May 28, slower than the rise of 113 in the five days before that.

Prof Chilton said: "I remain hopeful that this is going to represent our decline.

"We have still got a significant amount of Covid in our community and what we haven't seen is a reduction in our Covid admissions."

And chief executive Simon Weldon warned: "The virus is still here with us and it's going to be for many months ahead."