Covid patient admissions drop at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals
- Credit: Rachel Edge
The number of coronavirus patients being treated at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals has fallen - but their chief executive has warned the threat has not disappeared.
Nick Hulme - chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs the hospitals - said: "There's no doubt that we have seen a reduction in the number of new patients coming through with Covid.
"But by no means have they completely disappeared. We have still got as many patients with Covid across both of our sites as we had at any stage in the first surge.
"Our intensive care units have twice as many patients as they would have at this time of year normally.
"So although all the indications are going in the right direction, as the infections come down in the community there is a delay before we see a reduction in the hospital and particularly in ITU.
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"What we are hoping to see in the next three weeks is that reduction in ITU and a reduction in the number of patients coming through."
Mr Hulme said that elective surgery would still be on hold for the time being, as there is not yet enough space in ITU.
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However, he said dropping staff sickness levels had helped ease staffing concerns.
"There are a lot of reasons to be hopeful in terms of the roadmap that we now have, in terms of the lockdown and in terms of the number of cases in the community reducing," said Mr Hulme.
However, Mr Hulme said it was "not a time to be complacent" and that the virus was still serious.
"We still need to be vigilant," said Mr Hulme.
"It's a really tricky tightrope that we are walking at the moment between encouraging people to feel more optimistic but also remembering that there is a lot of virus out there in the community."
Despite this, Mr Hulme said he was "encouraged by the cautious approach of that the government are taking to lockdown".
He added: "It's great to know we have some planning and dates but I am encouraged they are not dates that are set in stone."