More than 100 patients in hospital with Covid-19 as coronavirus rates climb
- Credit: Brittany Woodman/Sonya Duncan
Health bosses feared that without the second lockdown there was a danger of double the number of people being admitted to Norfolk’s hospitals with Covid-19 than during the first peak of coronavirus.
At a Norfolk County Council press conference, the county’s public health director Dr Louise Smith said rates in Norfolk were still increasing (up to 92.2 cases per 100,000 people) over the past seven days, compared to 89.2pc last week.
The highest rates are in Great Yarmouth (170 cases per 100,000 people), Breckland (118) and King’s Lynn and West Norfolk (116).
She said there were now 107 people in Norfolk and Waveney’s hospitals, with six in intensive care, compared to 89 last week when two patients were in intensive care.
Norfolk MPs, such as George Freeman and Duncan Baker, who had previously been sceptical about a national lockdown because of generally low rates in Norfolk yesterday voted in favour of it, after briefings about the potential impact on hospitals.
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And Dr Smith, Norfolk’s director of public health, said: “If we look back to the first peak of the pandemic, we are at the stage now in this wave which would be equivalent roughly to April 1, in terms of the number that are in hospital at this stage.
“Our data shows that if the rise in rates in Norfolk continued at its current pace, rates across the whole of Norfolk would be at 150 per 100,000 by early December. That would be if we did not take the action now to go into lockdown.
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“And if we look at our worst case scenario modelling, if we didn’t have this lockdown, we were looking at the possibility in this second peak of having double the number of people admitted to hospital as in the previous peak.”
The highest number of patients who were in Norfolk’s hospitals with Covid-19 in that previous peak were just over 260 people in the week of April 21 - so it could have seen more than 500 people hospitalised at the second peak.
Dr Smith said: “So for those reasons, it is really important that we comply with this new lockdown, because we are all in it together.
“The risk is that, without that rates would continue to climb and hospitals would face increased pressure.”
She said: “All of this means staying at home and only leaving home for specific activities, such as medical treatment, to exercise or to get essentials such as food. Work at home wherever possible.”
Norfolk Resilience Forum has launched a targeted campaign to ensure that all the relevant information reaches peopl, with messages focused by district.
Outdoor posters, adverts in the local media and social media messaging will guide communities to follow the new restrictions.
The council is also working with its partners to support those who are extremely clinically vulnerable to stay at home as much as possible.
A letter is being sent to all of those affected, detailing the support that is on offer. This includes support to access food and medication.
Although those who are isolating or defined as extremely clinically vulnerable will receive priority for support, anyone who is vulnerable and needs help can contact the council on 0344 800 8020.