NHS England data shows 631 staff at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which covers the Royal Preston Hospital and Chorley and South Ribble Hospital, were off sick on December 26 – the latest date for which data is available.
Of them, 208 (33%) were off because they had Covid-19, or were self-isolating due to the virus.
‘How a car crash saved my life’: Royal Preston patient recalls chance cancer diagnosis as hospital’s major trauma centre marks tenth anniversary
Lancashire dental crisis: Fulwood dental surgery Dentistry by Cure Clinics is offering free checkups this month
Cost of living crisis: Preston community centre hires mental health expert to help locals struggling with soaring food and energy prices
Preston great-grandmother who arrived in UK a penniless refugee gives £5k gift to renal unit at Royal Preston Hospital
Freckleton care home where grandma, 91, was beaten to death is placed in special measures again after 'inadequate' CQC report
This was a 100% increase on a week before, when 104 Covid-related absences were recorded.
Professor Powis said new nurses and reservists were being recruited to deal with pressures, as Nightingale hubs are being set-up across the country, Preston one such centre, to tackle a surge in coronavirus patients.
He added: "We don’t yet know the full scale of rising omicron cases and how this will affect people needing NHS treatment, but having hit a ten-month high for the number of patients in hospital with Covid while wrestling with sharply increasing staff absences, we are doing everything possible to free up beds and get people home to their loved ones."
He added that keeping as many NHS staff as possible at work in the next few weeks would be essential.
People who receive negative lateral flow results on day six and day seven of their self-isolation period – with tests taken 24 hours apart – no longer have to stay indoors for a full 10 days.
But calls are growing on the Government to cut this further, after the US Government slashed the self-isolation period to five days for asymptomatic cases.
NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said staff absences could pose a bigger challenge to the health service than patients needing treatment for the virus, with staff having to be redeployed to fill gaps.
The Government said while early evidence suggests the new coronavirus variant Omicron is less likely to cause serious illness than earlier waves, it stands ready to impose new measures in England if necessary.
Want to see fewer ads? Subscribers to the Lancashire Post get access to the ad-lite version of our website, which features 70% fewer ads and faster load times for a better experience. Find out more