Number of Covid-19 patients at Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital rises

There has been a rise in the number of people in hospital in Plymouth following a positive Covid-19 test, with 71 now admitted to Derriford Hospital’s Covid wards.

Latest Government figures, which give the position as of Tuesday, December 28, show that there were 71 patients at Derriford Hospital after a positive Covid-19 test, up from 65 as of December 21.

Of those, there were nine patients on ventilators at Derriford Hospital, the latest Public Health data shows.

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It comes as University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust has said that it is experiencing high attendances to its Emergency Department, including patients attending by ambulances, a pattern replicated among other hospitals across the country.

In addition, Derriford Hospital has a very high level of occupancy with an increasing number of Covid-19 patients being admitted, the Trust said.

Nationally, there were 2,370 Covid-19 hospital admissions in England on December 29, NHS England said. This is up 90% week on week and is the highest number since January 29.

During the second wave of coronavirus, admissions peaked at 4,134 on January 12. In London, 511 admissions were reported on December 29, up 32% week-on-week and the highest number since January 28. Admissions during the second wave peaked in London at 977 on January 6.

The number of Covid-19 admissions includes people admitted to hospital in the previous 24 hours who were known to have Covid-19, plus patients diagnosed in hospital with Covid-19 in the previous 24 hours.

Meanwhile, a total of 12,395 people were in hospital in England with Covid-19 as of 8am on December 31, according to figures from NHS England.

Ambulances parked outside Derriford Hospital. COVID-19 (coronavirus) general view (GV). University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth. November 27, 2020. Picture: Matt Gilley/Plymouth Live.
(Image: Matt Gilley/Plymouth Live)

The latest data comes as the proportion of Covid-19 patients being treated primarily for the virus in England’s hospitals has dropped slightly, new figures show.

Data from NHS England, published on Friday, shows that, of the 8,321 patients with coronavirus in NHS acute hospital trusts in England on December 28, 5,578 (67%) were being treated primarily for Covid.

This is down from 71% a week earlier and 74% at the start of December.

But the number being treated primarily for coronavirus is still rising – up 26% from 4,432 on December 21 to 5,578 on December 28.

The statistics also show that the number of patients with Covid-19 but primarily being treated for something else also rose from 1,813 to 2,743, a jump of 51%.

NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said that trust leaders were reporting that a lot of the patients being admitted were coming in with, rather than because of, Covid-19.

He added: “The proportion varies across the country but, as you’d expect, is higher where Covid community infection rates are higher.

“But we’d urge caution because we don’t yet have a detailed picture of what’s happening with older, more vulnerable patients.

“A lot of the earlier infections have involved younger people, though mixing at Christmas and new year is likely to change that. We’ll need to follow that very closely.”

Mr Hopson also said that even if people were being admitted with Covid instead of because of it, hospitals still needed to separate them from non-Covid patients to prevent spreading infection.

He added: “That is really important in keeping patients and staff safe, but it also takes up extra resource and space at a time when the NHS is already operating beyond full stretch.”

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