Harrogate hospital passes tragic milestone of 150 coronavirus deaths
The death toll from coronavirus at Harrogate hospital has risen above 150 after a further four fatalities were confirmed over the weekend.
The tragic milestone was reached on Thursday when two virus deaths were recorded, followed by a further two on Friday, according to NHS figures published yesterday.
It brings the toll up to 153 and comes as the hospital is still treating a high number of virus patients despite almost two months of lockdown causing infection rates to tumble.
Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust said on Thursday the hospital was treating 67 virus patients - a number which is still above where it was in the first peak.
Later today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce his four-part plan to lift the coronavirus lockdown, which will start with children returning to school on 8 March.
Also on 8 March, new rules will allow care home residents to have one regular visitor.
And from 29 March, it is understood outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed and that people will once again be able to travel out of their areas, although guidance will likely still recommend staying local.
Mr Johnson will share his finalised roadmap with ministers this afternoon, before unveiling it to MPs and then leading a news conference at 7pm.
The roadmap will outline four steps for easing restrictions. The four conditions that must be met at each phase of lockdown easing are:
- The coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions
- New variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions
Meanwhile, the rate of increase of new coronavirus infections in Harrogate still appears to be slowing, although there have been some fluctuations since it dropped below the 100 mark.
The latest seven-day infection rate for the borough is 97 cases per 100,000 people. This is below the average for England (121) and above the same figure for North Yorkshire (84.5).
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter