85 per cent of Covid patients in intensive care unvaccinated as Sheffield hospitals face 'problematic' winter
Sheffield’s director of public health has warned that this winter will be ‘hugely problematic’ for the NHS in Sheffield, and encouraged people to get vaccinated.
Greg Fell gave an update on the number of cases of Covid in the city at the moment – which stands at 317.7 new cases per 100,000 people according to latest data – and warned that what happens over winter is very unpredictable.
He said that the infection rate was flat up until last week when it started to fall. And he suggested that we will see an oscillating pattern over a period from a very high baseline, stressing the importance of booster jabs in controlling any spikes.
And he added that 85 per cent of the people in intensive care with Covid in Sheffield at the moment are those who have not been vaccinated.
Mr Fell explained: “The rate continues to fall in the over 60s and that is the group I am most worried about because it’s the group most likely to be made severely ill. This is the positive impact of the boosters.
“The booster programme has accelerated massively over the last couple of weeks and that is why there has been an impact on the number of cases, there’s no two ways about that.
“There has been a slight rise in the under 16 group and it has been up and down for the adults in the middle.
“I don’t know how it will play out over the rest of autumn and into the winter. I suspect that it is unlikely that rates will go down massively but they might just stay around the rate they currently are.
“This is hugely problematic for the NHS and social care.
“What we see in the media about the NHS being overwhelmed is very true. It is very much happening in Sheffield.
“The NHS and social care system is under extreme pressure and this is not looking like it is going to reduce anytime in the near future.
“The onus is on us to do all we can to ease the pressure on the NHS and social care system, so that it will still be there to porovide for us on our moments of need.”
Mr Fell said there is the risk that the pandemic could ‘flip’ really quickly, meaning case rates could rise unexpectedly, as they have done in sonme European countries which have gone back into lockdown.
He said: “I would encourage people to look at what is happening in Austria and the Netherlands, where case rates have gone up very quickly and their governments have imposed lockdowns.
"It is impossible to say whether that will happen and enybody who tries to predict that is on a fool’s errand. But it could.”
Mr Fell also stressed the importance of pregnant women getting the vaccine, highlighting the fact that 98 per cent of pregnant women in hospital were not vaccinated.
Additionally, 98 per cent of the pregnant women in intensive care are not vaccinated.
"It is never too late to get vaccinated,” he said. “There is always a vaccine waiting for you.
"The medical evidence is absolutely clear on the benefits of the vaccine. The benefits by bfar outweigh the risks in every area.”