Covid hospital admissions declining across West Midlands

The number of daily Covid hospital admissions in the West Midlands has fallen by seven per cent over the past week.

New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton
New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton

NHS data shows that in the week ending November 24, there were 1,576 coronavirus patients in hospitals across the Black Country, Staffordshire and Birmingham.

The average number of admissions per day was 128 – down from 138 (seven per cent) in the week to November 19.

The region is set to be plunged into Tier 3 restrictions on December 2, with hospital admissions one of the key factors used by Ministers to justify the decision.

It came as infection rates continued to fall across all parts of the region.

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Dudley still has one of the highest rates in the country, but the figure of 415.1 cases per 100,000 people is down 28 per cent from a peak of 576.5 that was recorded in the seven days to November 14.

To determine restrictions, the Government also uses the number of cases among over 60s, the rate at which cases are rising and falling and positivity rates.

Tiers are due to be reviewed for the first time on December 16.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said he would be "extremely angry and disappointed" if the borough remained under the toughest measures over Christmas.

"I think we are going to satisfy all of the necessary criteria to come out of Tier 3 when the measures are reviewed," he added.

"We targeted testing in areas where we knew we had a problem, resulting in what was a huge increase in cases.

"Now the rates of infection have fallen dramatically and they are expected to continue to fall."

Mr Harley added that Tier 2 was "not a massive improvement" as far as the hospitality industry was concerned, but that is would represent "a step in the right direction".

Other areas have also seen significant falls in infection rates, with Sandwell, Walsall and Stafford all seeing decreases of around 20 per cent in the last week.

Across the Black Country, there were 4,489 new cases in the seven days to November 22, a fall of 20 per cent from the 5,599 cases recorded in the week ending November 15.

Professor David Loughton, chief executive of Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, said the NHS was currently "coping" with the pandemic, although some staff had been redeployed into areas they do not usually work in.

He added: "We need everyone's help to continue to cope because we are entering what could potentially be a difficult period with normal winter illnesses that come along."

Regional leaders are hoping the roll out of mass testing will help reduce rates further.

Wolverhampton is due to start a programme next Friday, while a rapid testing site for asymptomatic students will run from the University of Birmingham from December 2 to 9.

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