Covid patient numbers at Harrogate hospital fall slightly as infection rate slows
The number of Covid patients at Harrogate hospital has fallen slightly as the district's infection rate also shows signs of slowing.
As of Tuesday, there were eight patients at the hospital - down from 11 at the same time last week. The fall has been mirrored across North Yorkshire where patient numbers have fallen by 10 to 122.
The number of patients in intensive care, however, has gone up by six to 26.
The latest figures were provided by Amanda Bloor, accountable officer for the North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group, who in an update to a meeting of the county's Local Resilience Forum today also said Covid and flu vaccines would be key to minimise pressure on the NHS this winter.
She said: “Winter is always the NHS’s busiest time of year and we expect that to be the same this year.
“In addition, there are still Covid patients in our hospitals, we are working together to address the waiting lists which have arisen due to the pandemic and we also still have full Covid measures in place.
“The flu vaccination programme is one of the ways we can help protect hospital capacity this winter by helping people stay healthy and well and out of hospital.
“We would like to see as many people as possible get the flu vaccination this winter and will share information through the months ahead to support people with this.”
Ms Bloor also outlined the next steps of the Covid vaccination program, including jabs for 12 to 15-year-olds and boosters.
She said: “The NHS, working with school immunisation teams, will begin offering the vaccine to 12 to 15-year-olds once the operational plans are finalised. Other teenagers can continue to use the established routes to access a vaccine.
“We have also had additional announcements about the Covid-19 booster programme this week.
“Boosters will be one dose and should not be administered any sooner than six months after the second dose of the vaccination.
“Boosters will be offered to everyone who was eligible for a vaccine under the first phase of the vaccine programme – cohorts one to nine."
It comes as Harrogate hospital has reported seven Covid deaths in the last three weeks after going more than four months without any.
The latest death came on Friday and brought the hospital's toll since the pandemic began up to 186.
Meanwhile, the district's weekly infection rate per 100,000 people remains the highest in North Yorkshire at 384, but has shown signs of slowing after a drop from 453 over five days.
And according to latest NHS figures, a total of 127,388 people in the district have received their first Covid vaccine dose and 118,682 people their second.
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter