Covid hospital patients rise after jump in cases in Preston, South Ribble and Chorley
The number of people hospitalised with Covid in Central Lancashire has risen to its highest level in more than two months – increasing by more than a dozen in just over a week.
There are currently 19 virus patients being cared for by the trust that runs the Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble Hospital – up from four compared to the most recent published figures for 1st June.
The rise was reported during a meeting of Central Lancashire’s clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) on Wednesday.
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For much of May, there were just one or two people with Covid at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LTH) on any given day – and the last time the total was as high as it stands now was on 30th March.
However, it still remains far short of the pandemic peak in Covid hospitalisations at LTH, which reached 187 on 12th December. During previous waves, sometimes around 15 percent of Covid inpatients were in intensive care – whereas it is understood that the proportion of those currently in the trust’s hospitals who require that level of treatment is very low.
No details were provided at the CCG meeting of the age profile or vaccine status of those now hospitalised with the virus. The tally also does not reveal the balance between new admissions and discharges.
Nevertheless, the increase in inpatients is notable and comes after a sharp rise in cases across Central Lancashire in recent weeks, with rates almost trebling in Chorley, more than trebling in Preston and shooting up nearly tenfold in South Ribble across the fortnight to 4th June.
All of Lancashire except Blackpool was given “enhanced response area” status on Tuesday, with advice for residents to exercise “particular caution” when mixing with people from outside of their household or support bubble and, wherever possible, to meet outdoors and minimise travel in and out of the Lancashire County Council area.
The government is currently assessing national data to determine the degree to which the vaccine programme has broken the link between infections, hospitalisation and death ahead of plans to remove all legal restrictions on social contact from 21st June.
While the health secretary, Matt Hancock, said on Monday that hospitalisations nationally were “broadly flat” – although they have since breached the 1,000 mark again for the first time in a month – analysis by the Financial Times on Tuesday showed that the North West was experiencing “exponential” growth in the number of people in hospital, but no sign of a sustained growth in deaths.
According to data running up to the last full week of May, the most recent deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test in the Preston area came in the week ending 14th May, when two fatalities were recorded. The last time Chorley registered deaths by that measure was in the week to 9th April, when one person passed away; while the last deaths in South Ribble came during the previous week when two fatalities occured.
Commenting on the rise in hospitalisations in Central Lancashire, a spokesperson for LTH told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Whilst we have seen a steady increase in the number of Covid-19 positive patients in our hospitals over the last 10 days, this has not yet impacted on our wider services and we would encourage everyone to visit us if you need hospital treatment.
“It is important that our local communities continue to adhere to the government guidance and those eligible take up the opportunity to receive their Covid-19 vaccination.”
Rolling case rates per 100,000 people in the week to 4th June, followed by the rise by that measure compared to the week to 28th May and the number of individual infections recorded over that period:
PRESTON – 199.8 (up 63 percent) – 286 cases (including 4 aged over 60)
SOUTH RIBBLE – 252.7 (up 127 percent) – 280 cases (including 20 aged over 60)
CHORLEY – 158.2 (up 68 percent) – 187 cases (including 4 aged over 60)