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Health boss optimistic Norfolk has reached peak in virus pandemic

PUBLISHED: 07:48 28 April 2020 | UPDATED: 08:11 28 April 2020

Dr Louise Smith. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Dr Louise Smith. Picture: Norfolk County Council

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Health bosses are optimistic coronavirus cases are beginning to plateau in Norfolk.

Sam Higginson, the chief executive at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Photo: NNUHSam Higginson, the chief executive at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Photo: NNUH

Dr Louise Smith, head of public health, and Sam Higginson, chief executive of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital have reported signs the county was coming out the other side following weeks of measures to reduce the spread of the virus.

Speaking on Radio Norfolk on Monday, Dr Smith said she believed the county had reached the peak.

She said: “I think we are seeing the first clear signs of reducing numbers so definitely a reduction now in the number of those being diagnosed with coronavirus each day and the numbers who are in hospital seem to have plateaued or stabilised. We’re still towards the top but hopefully the signs are starting to come down the other side.”

She said areas of concern still remained in trying to reduce the number of cases in care homes, as well as a drop in the number of people seeking help for illnesses other than coronavirus.

Norfolk and Norwich Hospital April 2020 Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANNorfolk and Norwich Hospital April 2020 Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

“What we are starting to be concerned about is we might see two different patterns to the pandemic that we are seeing much lower numbers in the general community but for people who are already in the health and social care system, particularly people who are in care homes we are not seeing numbers dropping in the same way,” she said.

Read more: Hospital celebrates 156 patients on road to recovery from coronavirus

In regards to steps to reduce lockdown measures, she added there would have to be trade-offs, whatever decision was made.

Dr Smith said: “This scientific evidence will only take us so far and then at the end of the day there will be choices to be made.”

On the subject of whether we’ve seen a peak in outbreaks, Sam Higginson, chief executive of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said: “It looks like London has seen the peak. I think that in terms of here, we’re on the plateau, so keeping up our PPE stocks is really important. It’s also vital people therefore stick with the government’s social distancing guidance. I think everyone has noticed a few more people out and about this weekend but it’s really important we keep going.

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“Managing the pressure on the hospital and NHS is so important.”

Mr Higginson was speaking to editor David Powles for the EDP Norfolk and Waveney Briefing podcast. To listen to the interview in full log onto https://www.podfollow.com/edp.


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