Hospitals on alert as first Omicron cases are confirmed in Northamptonshire
Visitors by appointment only at NGH and KGH following 49 Covid deaths during November
Bosses at the two main Northamptonshire hospitals have no plans to extend restrictions as the first Omicron cases are confirmed, despite a new ban on visitors at a neighbouring NHS trust.
Kettering General Hospital has reported the deaths of 20 Covid-19 patients in the space of two weeks amid another rise in the number of cases county-wide.
NHS England confirmed another seven Covid-linked deaths at Northampton General Hospital over the same period, up to November 29.
Health chiefs in the county have also confirmed the first two cases of the Omicron variant on Thursday (December 2).
Peterborough and Cambridgeshire hospitals banned most visitors last month in response to rising Covid-19 cases both in its hospitals and local communities.
A spokesman for Northamptonshire Universities Hospital Trust, which runs Northampton General and Kettering General hospitals, said: “Hospitalisations, and sadly deaths, from Covid-19 continue to happen across the country and Northamptonshire is no exception.
“Both Kettering and Northampton general hospitals continue to restrict access to our sites and visiting is only possible by appointment — people can see our websites for further details on visiting arrangements.
“Anyone attending the KGH or NGH site should wear a mask, socially distance, wash their hands, and follow all onsite guidance.
“It is very important that we all continue to play our part in reducing the spread of Covid-19.”
Research suggests the Omicron variant could cause a substantial wave of infections.
Peterborough and Cambridgeshire were declared Enhanced Response Areas by the government last month.
Yet both areas had weekly virus case rates lower and have seen fewer Covid-linked deaths than in Northamptonshire.
Latest official figures showed around 3,780 new positive tests in Northamptonshire during the seven days to November 28 — 499.2 per 100,000 people — a rise of around 25 percent from a week earlier.
In Peterborough the weekly rate is 435.8 per 100,000 although Cambridgeshire's rate has risen to 518.9 per 100,000 despite the extra measures.
NHS England figures showed 28 Covid patients sadly died in Peterborough City, Hinchingbrooke and Stamford hospitals during November compared to 49 in Northamptonshire's two main hospitals.
The government deploys extra support in local areas requesting an enhanced response to ensure there is no danger of the NHS facing unsustainable pressure.
Peterborough and Cambridgeshire director of public health, Jyoti Atri, said: “A rising rate of infections particularly in our older population meant I had to make this application now.
“Pressure is building on our local health services."