Harrogate hospital under pressure as Covid patient numbers remain high

Harrogate District Hospital has warned it is under pressure from a stubbornly high number of Covid patients - most of which have tested positive after being admitted for different illnesses.

By Jacob Webster
Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 3:04 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 3:04 pm
Harrogate District Hospital.
Harrogate District Hospital.

The hospital currently has 28 Covid-positive patients, with five primarily receiving treatment for the virus.

The figure has remained around this level since the start of January and officials say although fewer patients are falling seriously ill with Covid, all those who test positive cause extra pressure due to need for isolation and risks of transmission.

Dr Matt Shepherd, deputy chief operating officer at the Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The threat of Covid-19 has not gone away.

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"Over the last week we have seen a drop in the number of people who have been admitted to the hospital primarily for the treatment of Covid-19, however, the number of patients who have been admitted for other reasons and have subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 remains high.

“Every person admitted to our hospital with Covid-19 increases the chance of another patient or member of staff contracting the disease.

"Each member of staff that tests positive for the virus or has to isolate and is unable to work, puts additional pressure on the healthcare service we provide."

The hospital last reported the death of a patient who tested positive for Covid within 28 days of dying on 21 January, with the hospital's death toll since the pandemic began standing at 210.

Meanwhile, latest figures show the Harrogate district has the highest infection rate in North Yorkshire at 1,296 cases per 100,000 people.

The rate has been rising slowly since mid-January and is above the England average of 1,072.

Dr Shepherd said due to the high levels of infection, restrictions which mean visits to hospital patients are only allowed in "exceptional" circumstances will have to remain in place.

He said: "These restrictions also still apply to those people wanting to accompany outpatients to their appointments.

"Anyone entering our hospital will also need to wear a mask, ensure they sanitise their hands and maintain social distancing."

Dr Shepherd added: "Whilst it has been suggested that the Omicron variant is less severe than other variants, it is still a highly infectious virus that can have life changing consequences.

"We must do all we can to reduce the infection rate and vaccination is our best line of defence.

"I would encourage anyone who has not yet had the Covid-19 vaccination or their booster to do so as soon as possible so that we can to ensure the health and wellbeing of our patients, their families, our staff and the wider community.”

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter