Another Covid death at Harrogate District Hospital as toll reaches 185
Harrogate hospital has reported another coronavirus death to take its toll since the pandemic began up to 185.
The death of a Covid-positive patient on Wednesday is the sixth at the hospital in the last three weeks. Prior to this period, the hospital had gone more than four months without any Covid-related fatalities.
It comes as hospital bosses warned that this winter will be "more challenging than ever before" as staff continue to battle with backlogs and brace themselves for peak pressures.
The hospital is trying to clear a backlog of routine screenings, operations and other appointments delayed by the pandemic, as it also prepares for an expected surge of seasonal illnesses.
Dr Matt Shepherd, deputy chief operating officer at the hospital trust, said: "Even with the highly successful vaccination program, the risks of Covid-19 remain very real, particularly to the most vulnerable patients who find themselves unwell and in hospital.
"Whilst the latest Covid-19 admissions are significantly lower than the waves we experienced in the past, this virus has not gone away, it is still affecting how we operate, and we must be prepared if there is an increase in infections.
“Winter is always a challenging time and this year it will be more challenging than ever before as we continue to be affected by the pandemic."
It was reported by an NHS official on Wednesday that the hospital was treating 11 Covid patients.
Meanwhile, the Harrogate district's weekly infection rate now stands at 433 cases per 100,000 people - above the North Yorkshire and England averages of 378 and 351.
And according to latest NHS figures, a total of 127,221 people in the district have received their first vaccine dose and 117,318 people their second.
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter