Trust warns hospital Covid numbers ‘far beyond first wave’ as Yorkshire admissions rise

A South Yorkshire hospital trust says the number of Covid-19 patients on its wards is now “far beyond the first wave earlier this year” after it saw one of its largest daily rises.

The trust which runs Doncaster Royal Infirmary (DRI) said it now has 201 patients who have tested positive, which is “almost double where we were last Sunday”.

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (DBTH) announced the figures amid reports that people admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in the North East and Yorkshire region could soon outstrip the North West.

The HSJ reported that the latest NHS data showed a 42% increase in patients admitted or newly diagnosed in North East and Yorkshire hospitals.

It said 12.2% of acute and general beds in South Yorkshire were occupied by Covid patients, according to the latest figures, which is up from 2.2% a month before.

DBTH said in a statement on Monday: “In the past 24 hours, we have admitted a number of patients who have tested positive for Covid-19 and, as a result, we are now caring for 201 such individuals – far beyond the first wave earlier this year.”

Of the 201, 164 are at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, 16 at Bassetlaw Hospital in Worksop, and 21 at Montagu Hospital in Mexborough.

It said that eight patients require critical care, with three on mechanical ventilation, 20 requiring non-invasive ventilation and 11 needing oxygen.

The trust said: “Please note, contrary to some claims on social media, this does not mean the other 150 or so patients do not require high levels of hospital care, it simply means they just do not need these specific interventions and treatments.”

It said that two more people had died with Covid-19 having played a significant factor in the cause of death but, in the 72 hours up to Sunday evening, 14 patients had left hospital.

The trust said: “Our health heroes within Team DBTH are doing a job which is beyond any kind words and superlatives we can muster. We are in awe of them every day, so please continue to share your support with these brave men and women, without whom we would be lost.

“Thank you, continue to protect the vulnerable amongst us and help us flatten the curve – and remember, sunshine follows thunder – we will get through this together as a community.”

Doncaster is part of the South Yorkshire region which was put under the highest Tier 3 restrictions last week.

Meanwhile, Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust said it had closed three operating theatres at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, to enable staff to care for critically ill coronavirus patients.

Chief executive Martin Barkley told The Independent: “We have seen an escalating number of Covid-positive inpatients at our trust. The number of Covid-positive patients has increased from 68 patients last week to 139 patients as of 8am on Monday 26 October.

“We have not yet had to implement all phases of our escalation plans, however, last week the trust made the crucial decision to close two elective theatres, and today a third one, at Pinderfields Hospital.

“This has meant some planned surgery has been postponed to free up staff to support critically unwell patients who are on ventilation. These colleagues are working on our ICU.”

Another South Yorkshire hospital also reported having higher numbers of Covid-positive inpatients than at the peak of the first wave.

A spokesman for the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust said: “As of 8am this morning (Monday), we had 96 patients in Rotherham Hospital who have tested positive for Covid-19, of these six were in critical care. ”

He said: “During the initial peak, the highest number of Covid-positive inpatients at any one time was 78.”

The HSJ has reported that Yorkshire appeared to be driving the increase in hospital admissions with Covid-19 in the North East and Yorkshire region – pointing to the rapid rises in South Yorkshire and, to a lesser extent, in West Yorkshire and Harrogate.

It said that, according to NHS data, 1,692 patients were admitted or newly diagnosed in the North East and Yorkshire hospitals in the week to October 23, an increase of 42% on the previous week.

This compares with 1,789 patients in the North West, up 17%.

The journal said 12.2% of acute and general beds in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw were occupied by Covid patients on October 20 – up from 2.2% on September 29.

It said this is the third highest occupancy rate in England, behind Lancashire and South Cumbria (16.8%) and Cheshire and Merseyside (15.4%).

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital, said the number of patients testing positive was around double what it was last week.

A spokesman said there were 53 patients receiving care in the hospitals, including eight in intensive care.

At the height of the first wave this numbers was around 110, the trust said.

It said three new wards have been built at the back of Hull Royal Infirmary and will start assessing and treating patients with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 over the next few weeks once all building work has been completed.

The trust said a “surge plan” has been prepared to outline which wards will halt normal service and start accepting patients with Covid-19 if numbers increase in line with the first wave in March and April.

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