Covid patient numbers at Harrogate hospital increases to nine as infection rate falls
There has been an increase in the number of Covid patients at Harrogate hospital as the district's infection rate continues to fall.
Amanda Bloor accountable officer of the NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group, told a meeting of the county's Local Resilience Forum on Wednesday that patient numbers at the hospital had increased to nine - up from three last week.
Ms Bloor added this was a pattern which has been mirrored across the county.
She said: "Unfortunately the number of patients does continue to rise. As of yesterday, there were 136 patients across our hospitals in North Yorkshire and York.
"This is up from a figure of 112 this time last week - and 16 of those 136 patients are in intensive care.
"If the number of patients with Covid does continue to rise, it could have an impact on our hospitals' ability to carry out planned procedures.
"We are not seeing that significantly at the moment but we do just need to keep an eye on those numbers."
A breakdown of the figures shows there are nine patients in both Harrogate and Scarborough hospitals, 26 in York and 92 in South Tees.
These figures have increased over recent weeks but are not as high as the previous wave in January when patient numbers in Harrogate peaked at 67.
There has also not been a Covid-related death at the district hospital in more than three months.
This is thanks to high levels of vaccine uptake but Ms Bloor said there is still work to do to ensure more people are protected, particularly the younger population.
She said: "The vaccination programme is now open to all age cohorts and is particularly focusing on the younger cohorts.
"With the easing of restrictions from 19 July, it is potentially understandable that younger people may feel there is now no advantage of getting vaccinated but we are seeing some younger people in hospital with Covid who are actually quite poorly.
"I would continue to urge everyone to come forward for their vaccination - it is the best method of protection."
It comes as Harrogate's weekly infection rate continues to fall. The rate reached a new record high of 534 cases per 100,000 people on 18 July and now stands at 306.
Health officials believe the drop in cases across the country could be down to schools closing for the summer holidays and people meeting up outdoors due to the recent sunny weather.
What they have said for certain though is that the number of people being admitted to hospital with Covid needs to start falling as well to show that the virus is really in decline.
Dr Victoria Turner, public health consultant at North Yorkshire County Council, said: "The number of people in local hospitals with Covid over the last week has continued to increase, however, we do know that hospitalisation data does tend to lag a bit.
"If that starts to go down too then we can start to be a bit happier that the decline in cases we are seeing at the moment is a real one."
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter