Number of Covid patients in Sheffield's hospitals now higher than in wave 1 and 2
The number of patients being treated for coronavirus in Sheffield’s hospitals is now higher than it was in the first two waves of the pandemic.
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust warned the worst of the virus could be still to come – but said there is room for more patients if necessary.
Dr Jennifer Hill, medical director at the trust, which runs the Northern General and Royal Hallamshire hospitals, said they are seeing a ‘steady increase each day’ in the number of patients hospitalised by the illness.
She added: “We currently have 340 patients in our hospitals with COVID-19 and 25 patients in our intensive care wards.
“We are now seeing a steady increase each day in the number of patients being admitted with COVID-19 and today we have exceeded the number of patients we cared for in the first or second wave.
"We are monitoring the situation carefully and have additional capacity in our plans should we continue to see an increase in Covid-19 cases but this is clearly a worrying indicator that we have not yet seen the worst of this virus.”
England's chief medical officer, professor Chris Whitty, also warned the next few weeks will be "the worst" of the pandemic for the NHS.
Dr Hill said: “It has never been more important for everyone to really stick to the new lockdown rules and in particular only to come into contact with people outside their household if absolutely essential.
"By not mixing with each other we can avoid transmitting this awful virus.”
Sheffield’s hospitals continue to provide other forms of care ‘where we have capacity and it is safe to do so’, despite coronavirus patient numbers being at their highest since the pandemic started.
Dr Hill added: “Our teams have been working tirelessly now for almost a year to ensure that we can continue to respond to this unprecedented challenge and whilst we are doing everything we can to support them, the best way to thank them and ensure they are here when you need them is to do all you can to limit the transmission of this now even more virulent virus.”
More than 2.3 million people in the UK had received a vaccination against the virus as of Monday, NHS data shows.