Surge of Covid patients expected at region's hospitals in next 'three to four weeks'

A surge of Covid patients are expected to be admitted to hospitals in the Black Country and West Birmingham over the next month, health chiefs have warned.

Chief executive Diane Wake
Chief executive Diane Wake

Latest official figures from NHS England show there were more than 900 Covid patients being cared for in the region's hospitals as of January 11.

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust was caring for 82 coronavirus patients on that date, up from 48 on the same day the previous week.

There were 102 coronavirus patients at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, up from 64 the previous week.

Admissions also rose from 69 to 88 in the same time frame at the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust; from 172 to 209 at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust and the number jumped from 364 to 450 at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

It means the number of patients with Covid-19 being treated at hospitals in the region rose by nearly 30 per cent in just a week.

In a recent report to the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust's board of directors, its chief executive Diane Wake also warned that there is expected to be a surge in the coming weeks.

She said: "The current transmission rate as of the January 7, 2022 is 2,000, per 100,000 of the population.

"This will in two to three weeks’ time translate into increased hospital admissions.

"The expected surge for Black County and West Birmingham is likely to be from January 17, for three to four weeks."

She also says staffing has become the 'biggest challenge'.

"Staffing is the biggest challenge affecting not just the hospital but social care, care homes and other sectors critical to maintaining NHS services," she said.

"We currently have 12 per cent of our staff off due to either Covid 19 or other illnesses, this equates to over 600 staff.

"This is very challenging.

"We have established a redeployment hub, and this is active in allocating staff to areas under significant pressure to provide some additional support."

She said that care homes temporarily closing their doors due to Covid was also delaying the discharge of some patients.

A top scientist has also warned that 70 per cent of Covid patients in intensive units across the region have not been vaccinated.

It has led to a fresh call for people who haven't yet come forward to take up the offer of a Covid vaccine.

Professor Mike Wade, interim regional director of public health for the Midlands said: “The numbers speak for themselves.

"In the Midlands, approximately 70 per cent of patients in intensive care in hospital are unvaccinated.

"The vaccine is our best line of defence, and this includes the all-important booster dose.”

Across England there were 16,939 people in hospital with Covid as of January 11, with 686 of them in mechanical ventilation beds.

The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalised nationally more than doubled in the last four weeks, however the number on mechanical ventilators has decreased by 14 per cent.

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