Hospitals see slight drop in Covid patients as deaths reach record levels

The safety data covers Ipswich and Colchester hospitals Picture: ARCHANT

The number of coronavirus patient admissions at Ipswich and Colchester Hospitals has dropped slightly - Credit: Archant

Hospitals in Suffolk and north Essex have seen a slight drop in the number of coronavirus patients being admitted in the past week. 

Nick Hulme, CEO of ESNEFT, which runs Ipswich and Colchester Hospitals, said the numbers were down for the first time in weeks, although ITU beds remained full. 

"Down to the incredible work of all of our staff the hospitals are doing well under the exceptional challenges and pressures," said Mr Hulme. 

"We have seen this week a slight decrease in the number of positive patients that have come through the front door at both Ipswich and Colchester. 

"I wouldn't say it has turned the tide but it hasn't got any worse."

Mr Hulme said that the hospitals had not seen the exponential growth in Covid patients that they had been seeing since Christmas. 

Nick Hulme, chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Ipswich and Colchester...

Nick Hulme said it remained important for people to stick to lockdown rules - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

However, despite this the trust has seen one of the highest numbers of deaths in a week that they have ever seen across the two sites. 

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Between January 18 and January 25, 130 people died across the trust's hospitals. Some of this data is still provisional and could be set to rise. 

On January 19 alone 28 people died. 

"That has been incredibly distressing for the families and the loved ones of those who have lost their lives but it also takes its toll on the staff," said Mr Hulme. 

"The hospitals have felt like a very sad place this week because of those high levels and hitting the national milestone (of 100,000 deaths) has affected people profoundly.

"It's encouraging the numbers have come down ever so slightly but it has felt a very sad week this week." 

Mr Hulme said the message remained the same and that it remained critical that people stuck to the rules in place. 

"We are not out of the woods," said Mr Hulme.

"We are still in a very serious and critical healthcare condition, nationally and indeed locally. 

"I think we should be doubling our effort at a most difficult time to stick to the lockdown rules. 

"It's so tempting. I'm tempted myself but I can't do it. I've got to recognise that's not an option at the moment. 

"If we want to respect the memory of the 100,000 people who have died then just stay at home and quietly remember those people and those families. 

"By staying at home and doing nothing you are making your contribution to saving future lives."

West Suffolk Hospital chief executive Steve Dunn Picture: GREGG BROWN

Steve Dunn said case levels remained high at West Suffolk Hospital

Chief executive of West Suffolk Hospital Steve Dunn said: “We still have a large number of Covid-19 patients in hospital and new people coming in every day, which is why it’s so important that our local residents continue to follow the latest national rules and practice ‘hands, face, space’.”