Covid in Sheffield: Remain 'vigilant' says hospitals boss as number of coronavirus patients doubles

A Sheffield hospitals boss has urged people to remain ‘vigilant’ after the number of Covid patients on the wards more than doubled.

By Robert Cumber
Monday, 18th April 2022, 2:38 pm

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals was treating 230 patients with Covid-19 as of Thursday, April 14, the latest day for which data is available – up from 111 on March 14, and 186 on April 1.

The NHS trust, which runs the Royal Hallamshire Hospital and Northern General Hospital, among other facilities, said two of those 230 patients were in intensive care.

While hospitals are treating many more Covid patients, the number of seriously ill patients with the virus has not changed significantly in recent weeks. On March 14, there were two Covid patients in Sheffield’s hospitals requiring mechanical ventilation, while on April 1, that figure stood at five.

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The number of Covid patients being treated by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals continues to rise and now stands at 230 (file photo of Covid vaccinations at Sheffield Arena, by Scott Merrylees)

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Since such data was first published, the peak number of coronavirus patients in mechancial ventilation beds in Sheffield’s hospitals was 41 on February 2, 2021.

Kirsten Major, chief executive of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said on Thursday, April 14: “Sadly, we have continued to see a rise in the number of patients who have Covid-19 in our hospitals. The number is now 230 with two patients in intensive care.

“Thanks to the vaccination programme, the patients we are treating as not as sick as they were in the earlier days of the pandemic and are not staying as long in hospital, but there is no doubt that the virus has not gone away.

“It is still having a physical impact on the people we are treating but also on the capacity we have available to carry out planned operations and admit emergency patients to wards from A&E.

“We would ask everyone to continue to be vigilant and take the appropriate sensible measures such as being vaccinated to avoid falling so ill that they need our care.”

The trust relaxed its visiting restrictions on March 28, allowing patients up to two visitors a day, though an appointment is still required, masks remain mandatory and it is strongly recommended that only those who are fully vaccinated should visit.

On Covid wards, one visitor is allowed for up to an hour a day, at the visitor’s own risk, and a surgical face mask must be worn at all times.

In the week to April 9, there were 2,099 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 recorded in Sheffield – a rate of 356.2 per 100,000 people in the city.

The case rate was down by 29.4 per cent from 504.4 a week earlier on April 2, and below the UK-wide rate of 428.7.

Elsewhere in South Yorkshire, the latest case rate in Barnsley is 416.8, while it stands at 386.5 in Doncaster and 391 in Rotherham. The UK’s highest case rate, of 1,512.9, is in the Shetland Islands.

The Government’s decision to end free testing for the majority of people in England from April 1 may have had an impact on Covid rates nationally.

Since the pandemic began, 1,544 people across Sheffield have sadly died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, including 20 in the seven days to April 14.

Across the UK, the death toll now stands at 171,396, including 1,984 during the latest week.