THE number of people currently in the region's hospitals due to coronavirus has been revealed as figures show how they are coping with the pandemic.

As UK Covid cases continue to rise with the North East seeing among the highest infection rates across the country, hospital figures show a different story.

Figures from NHS England have revealed how the rate of hospitalisation has slowed compared to previous waves, but is continuing to climb in some areas.

Read more: Six North East areas now in England's top 10 for Covid infections

It comes as the Prime Minister Boris Johnson this month said the link between Covid cases and hospital mortality had been "broken" due to the vaccination programme.

Meanwhile, the PM last night confirmed the majority of remaining lockdown restrictions, including mandatory use of face coverings in some settings, would come to an end on July 19.

But that has not stopped NHS Trusts in the region against warning people to remain vigilant as some have seen a rise in hospital numbers. 

The Northern Echo:

According to latest figures reported through the Government's Covid dashboard as of last night, the region has 322 patients in hospital and 49 on a ventilator.

This is significantly lower than on the day that the third lockdown came into force on January 6, when there was 2,865 patients in the region's hospital and 204 on ventilators.

However, there is still cause for concern as admissions in the past month have continuined to climb as infections have surged among some areas. 

Admissions on June 2 (the lowest since the second wave peak) averaged at around 14, and have continued to rise to around 82 – across the entire region – as of July 3.

Chief Nurse Lindsey Robertson at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust last night warned that the country was "not out" of the pandemic yet.

The Northern Echo:

She told The Northern Echo: “While Covid-19 admissions are much lower than before, we urge the public to remain vigilant in the face of this continuing threat. We’re not out of this yet and cases are rising around the country.

“The vaccine is the best defence, but it can never be 100 per cent effective.

“Continuing to observe physical distancing, wearing masks when required and good hand hygiene are essential.

Read more: Boris Johnson sticks with July 19 for ending all coronavirus restrictions

“We urge everyone to get the vaccine and remember Hands-Face-Space-Fresh Air."

Meanwhile, the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said rising case rates had contributed to a rise in cases in its hospitals.

A spokesperson said, “As the prevalence of Covid-19 continues to rise in the wider community, we are seeing increasing number of cases in our hospitals. 

"We’re caring for these patients in addition to maintaining our other patient services. We’re incredibly proud of our staff who have risen to the challenges they’ve faced over the last 15 months and continue to do so with professionalism and compassion.”

Ahead of yesterday's Downing Street press conference with the Prime Minister Boris Johnson,  North of Tyne Mayor said easing restrictions should not be left to personal choice.

Labour’s Jamie Driscoll said: “Clearly rates are high across the country and it’s a highly transmissible virus. 

“We can’t leave it to personal choice as to whether people wear face masks. We wouldn’t make obeying speed limits a person choice. 

“The whole point of a face mask is that you are protecting other people not just yourself.”

He said wearing a mask was a “minor inconvenience” which allowed businesses to continue to function.

He also urged everyone to have their second vaccine dose as quickly as possible.

The Northern Echo: Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (Covid-19). Picture date: Monday July 5, 2021.

Last night, speaking at a Downing Street press conference, the PM unveiled plans to ease restrictions in a fortnight's time as he warned that the battle against coronavirus is “very far” from over.

Outlining a number of restrictions to be eased, he said: “We will remove all legal limits on the numbers meeting indoors and outdoors.

“We will allow all businesses to reopen including nightclubs.

“We will lift the limit on named visitors to care homes and the numbers of people attending concerts, theatre and sports events.

“We will end the one metre-plus rule on social distancing and the legal obligation to wear a face covering although guidance will suggest where you might choose to do so especially when cases are rising and where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet in enclosed places such as obviously crowded public transport.

“It will no longer be necessary for Government to instruct people to work from home so employers will be able to start planning a safe return to the workplace.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused Boris Johnson of being “reckless” by planning to remove all legal coronavirus restrictions at once and said mask wearing should remain.

He said: “Lifting all protections in one go when the infection rate is going up is reckless. A balanced approach, a proper plan, would say keep key protections.

“One of them would be masks in enclosed places and on public transport – that’s a common sense position. More ventilation, that’s happening in other countries, is absolutely essential and proper payments for those that need to self-isolate.”

To view the Government's dashboard - click here


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