Most Covid-19 patients in Sheffield intensive care ‘much younger than you would imagine’

Most Covid-19 patients who occupy the beds in the intensive care in Sheffield are in the younger age groups, reflecting the driving force of infection within the working age population.

By Rahmah Ghazali
Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 11:23 am

In a video statement released on Tuesday (January 26), Sheffield's Director of Public Health Greg Fell said the cohort in intensive care "is younger than you might imagine".

He said: "I would guess that most people in intensive care have a very, very elderly age group in there of the people that have covid but that's not the case.

"It's actually much, much younger. So this is something that just doesn't only affect the very old, it also affects younger people (who are of) people of working age to quite a high degree and that is a concern for all of us."

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Health workers wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) on the intensive care unit (ICU)

He said although the city seems to contain the infection rate as it has come down compared to last week - from 350 cases per 100,000 people to 230 cases per 100,000 - the rate of decline has now levelled.

This is because the transmission has always been household to household spread, people meeting and connecting.

"If you look at the age-specific rates, what's driving the force of infection is the working age population, particularly younger, working age population."

He said Sheffield may be approaching another flip point, as it remains to be seen if the infection rate continues to fall.

"With the rate of decline now stalling, it would seem in another week we'll know definitely. It's stalling at a very high cruising altitude that still causes significant harm and still leaves us with not very much wriggle room.

"Hospitals and intensive care units have a significant number of people who have severe illness from covid and that pressure is not going away if anything, it might be getting slightly worse as the winter draws on.

"In the order of 20 percent of hospital beds have someone who has covid in them. That's a significant number. That means 20 percent of beds are unavailable to provide care for other people."

Covid-19 has claimed the lives of 17 more people across South Yorkshire on Tuesday (January 26) as the UK death toll soars pass 100,000 since the pandemic hit.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.