Jab rollout extended as number of Covid patients in region's hospitals increases

Hospital chiefs have praised the vaccine rollout for helping keep the number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals across the Black Country low but concerns have been raised over rising cases in the region.

The number of Covid patients requiring hospital treatment has decreased compared to the previous week
The number of Covid patients requiring hospital treatment has decreased compared to the previous week

The latest figures show a total of 40 coronavirus patients were being treated in hospitals in the Black Country and Staffordshire as of 8am on June 15 – nine more than the previous week.

Twenty-one patients were being cared for at the Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, seven at the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, five at the Walsall Healthcare Trust, five at the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and two at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.

Jonathan Odum, medical director lead for acute care collaboration in the Black Country, encouraged people to continue following the guidance to help limit the spread – and also urged people to have their vaccine when they are invited to.

Meanwhile it has been announced that all adults can now book their Covid vaccine. The NHS was starting to send around 1.5 million text messages to people aged between 18 and 20 years old from Friday morning, in what NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens called a "watershed moment".

Mr Odum said: "The number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals across the Black Country remains low. This is evident that the vaccination roll out together with the efforts of people in following the guidance around hands, face and space and fresh air is helping.

“I would encourage people to continue to follow the guidance in order to help limit the spread of infection and also have your vaccine when you are invited to do so."

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, Dudley Council's cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “In the last few weeks we have seen the number of coronavirus cases start to rise in the borough, echoing the situation nationally.

"Although the end feels in sight, we’re not there yet and we need to keep doing what we’re doing to bring case numbers down, to protect one another and keep hospital admissions down if we want restrictions to lift."

Stephen Gunther, director of public health at Walsall Council, said: “Over the last two weeks the number of Walsall residents testing positive for Covid-19 has significantly increased. Our current rate is 52.5 per 100k of the population and public health surveillance has also detected cases of the Delta variant in the borough.

“The vaccination programme is working and hospitalisation rates remain low among those who do become infected.”

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, Wolverhampton Council's cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, added: “Case numbers here, as elsewhere, have risen noticeably over the last month – indeed, rates in Wolverhampton have tripled in three weeks, with latest figures showing that 110 people in the city tested positive for Covid-19 virus in week ending June 13, though the true number of new cases will likely be higher.

“So we must all step up our efforts to stop the spread of the virus and help Wolverhampton avoid the worst of a third wave."

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