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'More people in hospital than wave one', warn health bosses

Cambridgeshire is going through a “very challenging time” in the course of the coronavirus pandemic, the county’s public health director has said. 
Peterborough city hospital
‘Very challenging time’, county’s director of public health says(Photo: John Baker)

On Tuesday (January 12), representatives from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s councils were given an update from the area’s public health and NHS officials on the state of the Covid-19 outbreak in the area. 

The director of public health for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Dr Liz Robin, said the county has “a worrying picture just as we have a worrying picture nationally”. 

She said: “Although rates in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are still below the east of England average and the England average, they have been rising, particularly in Cambridgeshire. 

“Now Cambridgeshire has a rate of nearly 500 cases per 100,000, and Peterborough has a very similar rate. 

“The rise in Cambridgeshire has been much more rapid than the rise in Peterborough, which if you had looked a month ago had higher rates than Cambridgeshire did.” 

And she said: “We are now seeing increases sadly in deaths and mortality, more similar to the first wave back in April and May.” 

Government’s data shows there were 19 deaths registered in Cambridgeshire in the seven days up to January 1 where Covid-19 was recorded as one of the causes on the death certificate – the highest weekly number since early June. 

There were 65 deaths such deaths recorded in Cambridgeshire in the seven days up to April 24. 

In Peterborough in the week up January 1, there were 11 such deaths recorded, more than any week since May. 

Councillors also heard that the number of Covid-19 patients in the county’s hospitals is rising. 

The country’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty was quoted on Monday (January 11), as saying: “The next few weeks are going to be the worst weeks of this pandemic in terms of numbers into the NHS”. 

Dr Robin said there has been a “particularly sharp rise” in the number of Covid-19 patients being treated at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, while there has been a “more gradual but sustained rise across Peterborough City and Hinchingbrooke Hospitals” 

The accountable officer for the county’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Jan Thomas, said: “We have more people now in hospitals than we had in wave one by quite some way”. 

As of January 2, government data shows there 181 Covid-19 patients in Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust hospitals, which includes Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie. That’s more than the peak of 132 Covid-19 patients in the first wave. 

Jan Thomas said that “as of close of play yesterday [January 11] there were 125 [Covid-19 patients] in Peterborough and 72 in Hinchingbrooke” hospitals. 

Cambridgeshire’s NHS CCG chair, Dr Gary Howsam, said as more people begin to receive the vaccine, residents need to be aware that the restrictions and government guidance still applies, and that it is “absolutely critical” that people continue to follow the “hands, face, space” advice. 

 

By Ben Hatton, 

Local Democracy Reporting Service