More than 1,700 Covid patients now discharged from hospitals
- Credit: Casey Davies and Pual Godfrey
The number of Covid patients that have been discharged from Suffolk and north Essex hospitals has passed more than 1,700 - but many are still suffering from the long-term effects of the disease.
The latest Covid NHS situation report shows the number of people who have been discharged from hospitals up to January 6.
A total of 1,303 patients who battled Covid-19 at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals have been discharged since the pandemic began.
Meanwhile, at West Suffolk Hospital, 403 patients have survived the virus and returned home to their families.
However, the number of deaths in Suffolk has now reached 1,017, as of January 21, and the death rate is still rising.
The East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which comprises of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, has sent 346 patients over the age of 85 home to families, along with 587 people aged between 65 and 84.
357 of the patients who were discharged are aged between 18 and 64, five were aged six to 17 and eight under the age of five.
At West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, of the 403 patients discharged, 185 were aged between 65 and 84, with 86 over-85s also returning home.
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There were six youngsters below the age of five who were discharged, along with three between the ages of six and 17 and 128 recovering in the age category of 18 to 64.
One patient who has returned home to his family after being treated for Covid-19 in hospital is 32-year-old Paul Godfrey who lives in Frinton.
Mr Godfrey, who suffers with a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), said the hospital staff "saved his life" after he suffered from pneumonia, collapsed lungs and coronavirus which put him into intensive care (ICU) for several days.
The retail worker was on a breathing machine in ICU and it was touch and go. He "burst into tears" when he was told he could go home.
However, almost a year later and after spending five months in a wheelchair, he is still experiencing the symptoms of Long-Covid.
His breathing is difficult, walking is a struggle, he sweats profusely, and he says day-to-day tasks are not like they used to be.
"Even changing my bed is like running the marathon," he explained.
"I feel like I've aged 30 years. Covid has changed my life."
Despite his struggles and not being able to return to work, Mr Godfrey said he feels extremely lucky to have come home to his family.
He has thanked the hospital staff for "saving his life" by donating a number of care packages to recognise their tireless efforts.
Casey Davies, now 19, was the first teenager to catch the virus when she was admitted to West Suffolk Hospital back in April.
She spent more than three weeks in their care and has praised the hospital team for being "brilliant", despite being run off their feet.
The 19-year-old, who suffers from type one diabetes and asthma, said her lungs have not recovered and she still gets breathless easily.
"I saw six people pass away while I was in hospital so I feel very lucky to be here," she said.
"I was told I could have died because of all my health complications, but the nurses held my hand and they saved my life. They were amazing, but this virus is not a joke."
Neill Moloney is managing director of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust.
He said: “Our teams are working incredibly hard to care for all our patients, including those with coronavirus. We treat and discharge patients from our hospitals as soon as we safely can, and we wish them all the best for their ongoing recovery at home.”
A spokesman for West Suffolk Hospital, added: “It’s wonderful for staff to see any patient, with or without Covid, go home to their loved ones.
"The NHS is learning more about Covid-19 with every passing week, but this is still a relatively new virus and we would urge everyone to follow the Hands, Face, Space guidance to stop the spread, and to take up the offer of vaccination when it’s their turn.”
The East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs Colchester and Ipswich hospitals, has recorded 818 deaths since the pandemic started.
West Suffolk Hospital recorded 207 deaths since the pandemic began.
The numbers do not include people who died more than 28 days after their first positive test whether or not Covid-19 was the cause of death.