Hospital Covid patient numbers fall for first time in six weeks

James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough.

The number of Covid patients in local hospitals has fallen for the first time in six weeks.

There are now 109 patients in the four main hospitals serving the county – down from 131 last week.

The latest figure includes six patients in Scarborough, seven in Harrogate, 27 in York and 69 in South Tees.

After most lockdown restrictions were lifted earlier this summer, patient numbers had been climbing steadily since the end of June but did not reach levels seen during previous waves thanks to vaccinations weakening the link between infections and serious illness.

Despite this, Richard Webb, director of health and adult services at North Yorkshire County Council, said the wider health and social care sector was still currently facing “pretty exceptional” pressures from a mix of pandemic impacts and high levels of demand for non-Covid care.

“The level of demand for both hospital and primary care, as well as community health services and social care, is pretty exceptional at the moment,” he told a meeting of the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum today.

“It is proving exceptionally challenging and everyone is doing all they can to keep services running.

“This is not on the scale that we have seen during previous waves of Covid-19 but it is still something we are keeping a very close eye on.”

Mr Webb also said weekly Covid infection rates across the county have now “plateaued” after falling from record levels last month when the North Yorkshire average peaked at 590 cases per 100,000 people.

The latest figure now stands at 269 – just below the England average of 298.

A breakdown of infection rates for the seven districts is as follows: Selby 314, Scarborough 291, Harrogate 288, Richmondshire 259, Craven 248, Hambleton 223 and Ryedale 206.

Mr Webb said: “We have seemed to have reached a plateau in terms of the case rates and spread of infections but there continues to be pretty widespread community transmission.

“We still have a North Yorkshire average today of 269 cases per 100,000 people which is still a high figure.

“It is lower now than the England average of 299 but it keeps bobbing up and down. It will be interesting to see the impact over the coming weeks.”

Meanwhile, around 575,000 people across North Yorkshire and York have now received their first coronavirus vaccine dose and around 501,000 people have had their second.

There are a number of walk-in vaccine clinics operating across the county over the coming days, including at Homecare Pharmacy in Knaresborough, Central Dales Pharmacy in Hawes and Scarborough Rugby Club.

There is no need to book and vaccines are available for anyone aged over 18.

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