A HOSPITAL boss has warned the pandemic remains a "massive problem" as hospital admissions continue to surge just days after almost all restrictions were lifted.

The medical director at North Tees and Hartlepool Foundation Trust issued a warning as he said surging case rates across the region were beginning to impact admissions.

He said the number of patients had gone from zero to 35 in just a fortnight as he revealed the majority of patients are young or middle-aged.

It comes as the Government was last night urged to act as shocking figures showed eight of ten areas in the North East had the highest rates in England.

Read more: Government urged to 'act' on North East Covid rates before schools return in September

Meanwhile, new figures showed hospitalisations across the region have continued to climb across all areas including admissions, patients in hospital, and those on ventilators.

The Northern Echo: The University Hospital of North Tees in StocktonThe University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton

Explaining the picture in its hospitals, Deepak Dwarakanath said: "Our region is unfortunately top of the league nationally for the number of patients with the virus.

“This has started to have an impact on hospital admissions. Two to three weeks ago we had no Covid patients in the Trust

“As of Tuesday we had 35 patients in our care – twelve were admitted in one day on Sunday.

“We also have six patients in intensive care – four of which are on ventilator support.

“These people aren’t elderly, they are younger or middle aged. This is still a massive problem and it is still with us.”

Dr Dwarakanath said the trust is now planning for its "busiest ever" winter period as it fears a resurgence in Covid cases as the cold weather comes back.

He said: “Last year there were very few admissions of people with the flu – but with the increased mixing of people flu will be more of an issue.

The Northern Echo: BABY CARE: The University Hospital of North Tees, Stockton.

“There will be a further resurgence of COVID as the cold weather comes back - and there will be the usual pressures of frailty-related illnesses.

“We must maintain our core services, in spite of these pressures, with cancer care and appointments.

“This will be one of the most pressured winters the NHS has ever had."

Urging the public to remain vigilant against the spread of the virus, he said those still waiting for their vaccine should make an appointment as soon as they can.

He added: “My message to the public is – when you have the opportunity to have your vaccine – have it and then have your second jab.

"Wear mask in confined areas and think about where you go. And be vigilant with hand washing and general hygiene.”

The Northern Echo:

Last night, a concerned County Durham MP slammed the Government for its "one size fits all approach" as cases across the North East had surged in the past week.

Labour MP for North Durham, Kevan Jones said he believed the Government had time to give local authorities more power on handling the virus.

He made the comments as he raised concerns over a number of schools which were forced to shut early for summer due to positive tests and self-isolation requirements.

Read more: 3 County Durham schools had to close early last week due to Covid

He told The Northern Echo: "What is needed now for September, is the Government needs to give the authority and funding to directors of public health to come up with localised plans.

"The failure throughout this pandemic has been to try and have a one size fits all approach from Whitehall.

"The Government have got to empower and use the experience of local directors of public health to work with local communities to tackle the virus."

In response to the region's surging infection rates, the Prime Minister’s spokesperson suggested there were no current plans for intervention following a surge in cases as they said local directors of public health have the ability to tackle outbreaks.

The PM's spokesperson said that local directors of public health had been provided a "range of tools" to help curb the spread of the virus, although did not outline what they were.  

They said: “Local directors of public health have the ability to use a range of tools to tackle local outbreaks.”

The spokesperson added that local directors of public health and local councils are working closely with the Department of Health and other departments to ensure a "proper" response is in place.


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