Harrogate only area in North Yorkshire to see Covid patient numbers rise as hospital hits another record high
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While hospitals in York and Scarborough have both seen a decline in coronavirus admissions, Harrogate hospital has seen another increase with 64 patients now receiving treatment - a rise of 10 from last Wednesday.
The figures were revealed by Amanda Bloor, accountable officer at NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group, who warned patient numbers would stay high for some time as the health service continues to feel the effects of soaring infection rates over the Christmas period.
"I don't think we are going to see a significant and quick drop in the numbers of admissions," she told a briefing of the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum on Wednesday.
"We do hope to see a consistent, steady decline and members of the public will help to achieve that by continuing to comply with the guidance."
The increase in admissions marks another unwanted record for Harrogate hospital which has seen patient numbers reach new heights four times this year in the weekly figures.
The hospital is also reporting more virus-related deaths - with nine confirmed in the last seven days alone and the total since the pandemic began now standing at 132.
January and February are usually peak times for Harrogate hospital but the added pressures of Covid last month forced the postponement of some non-urgent surgeries to free up staff to deal with virus patients which bosses said were putting "a significant strain on services".
The surge in pressure also prompted staff on the hospital's emergency and trauma ward to issue a fresh plea for people to stay at home during lockdown.
David Mattinson, medical registrar at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Harrogate has been exceptionally busy over the weeks following Christmas with many extremely sick patients requiring admission to hospital.
"Please stay at home and follow national guidance to ensure we can provide high quality care to everyone who needs it."
He added: “Thank you to all my colleagues in the trust who are working like a family, supporting each other through the good and bad and keeping the population of Harrogate safe.”
Across North Yorkshire, 440 people are now in hospital with coronavirus - a decrease of 64 from last week but still more than the peak of the first wave in April.
A breakdown of the figures shows there are 64 patients in Harrogate hospital, 133 in York, 42 in Scarborough and 201 in South Tees.
It also comes as the more contagious South African variant of coronavirus has been found in North Yorkshire.
Mrs Wallace said “a small number” of cases had been identified in the Scarborough area and were linked to international travel. She added there was “not considered to be any community risk” and that those affected were self-isolating.
Mrs Wallace said: “The people involved have done all the right things since turning home from abroad. They have self isolated in line with the guidance, as such there is not considered to be any community risk associated with them and, therefore, we will not be sharing any additional information about them.
“At this time we are not aware of any community cases of the South African variant of Covid-19 in North Yorkshire.”
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter