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A Nightingale hospital for coronavirus patients in north-west England will reopen next week after the number of people being treated by medics in Liverpool surpassed the peak of the first wave.
Prof Jane Eddleston, Greater Manchester’s medical lead on the coronavirus, said the huge makeshift facility in Manchester city centre would take recovering Covid patients from “the end of next week”.
Hospitals in the north-west of England are at the frontline of the second wave of coronavirus as the disease continues to spread rapidly, particularly in Greater Manchester and Liverpool, where medics are increasingly concerned about the number of over-60s becoming infected.
Dr Tristan Cope, medical director of Liverpool University hospitals, said the city was now treating more Covid-19 patients than they did in April at the peak of the first wave and that “numbers continue to rise”.
Liverpool’s three main hospitals were on Thursday treating 398 people with coronavirus, compared to 390 during their busiest day in the spring. Cope said hospital staff were under “a huge strain,” having to treat an increase in Covid patients alongside routine non-critical and emergency care.
In Greater Manchester, however, the picture is less alarming. In a briefing designed to counter some of the “selective statistics” released by Downing Street earlier this week, Eddleston said 35% of critical care beds in the region were currently occupied by Covid patients.
During the April peak, there were more than 300 patients filling critical care beds in Greater Manchester, of whom 260 had coronavirus. The latest figures, for Wednesday this week, showed 218 patients in critical care beds of whom 95 are being treated for Covid.
Eddleston, who appeared alongside Boris Johnson at a Downing Street press conference last week, said that although this number was “significant” the region was “in a different position now” and would bring in additional capacity where needed.
During the April peak there was capacity for more than 400 critical care patients, she said, and that it could reach this figure again if required.
“I don’t want to belittle the fact that this is a very serious condition and it’s challenging for the system,” she said, but added: “We are prepared and we are determined as a system that we will move in the system together. We won’t allow any one of our providers to unintentionally have an increase in pressure in their system.”
Eddleston said, however, that the number of non-critical Covid patients in Greater Manchester was approaching the level of the first peak. There were currently just over 600 coronavirus patients in acute hospital beds, she said, compared to just under 900 in April.
During the briefing, Manchester city council’s director of public health, David Regan, warned that the infection rate among older people was high and rising. There are currently 339 cases for every 100,000 people among the over-60s, he said, adding: “That is where we’ve got our greatest concern because, unfortunately, our older population are more at risk of developing complications from Covid, which may result in hospital admissions.”
Regan said there had been a marked drop in the infection rate among those aged 17 to 21 – falling from 3,350 cases for every 100,000 people on 3 October to 568 cases for every 100,000 currently.
This was due to the influx of 74,000 university students into Manchester in September, he said, although they had been able to bring the virus under control in part by quarantining at least 1,700 younger people in halls of residence – a measure which led to criticism at the time.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Nightingale to reopen as Liverpool sets new Covid patient record | World news