Coronavirus: Liverpool hospitals treating more patients than in the peak of the first wave

Hospitals in Liverpool are now seeing more coronavirus patients than in the first peak in April, a hospital trust medical director has said.

Dr Tristan Cope, the medical director at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Royal, Aintree and Broadgreen hospitals, said a “huge strain” had been placed on staff – and added that numbers were still rising.

He wrote on Twitter: “Sadly we are now treating more patients in hospital with COVID-19 @LivHospitals than we did in April at the peak of the first wave and numbers continue to rise.

“So important that people in #liverpool and @LivCityRegion adhere to social distancing restrictions.

“Treating so many Covid patients in addition to usual acute and emergency care of patients with non-Covid conditions puts a huge strain on @LivHospitals staff.

“Thank you to all our staff for their incredible hard work and dedication in dealing with this very difficult situation.

“We can all help reduce that pressure by doing the right thing and taking some very simple measures: washing our hands frequently, keeping our distance from others from outside our household and wearing face coverings in indoor settings.”

In Knowsley, a Merseyside borough with some of the highest infection rates in the country, staff at one hospital have described feeling “exhausted” as the virus returned for a second wave “with a vengeance”.

Ward manager Nadine McStein said adrenaline had helped carry staff through the first wave, but that such vengeance was now being felt after a summer lull.

She said: “Staff are exhausted, there’s a great sense of camaraderie amongst all the staff within the hospital.”

Ms McStein then described the “disheartening” feeling when seeing people protesting against measures as she said the pandemic had become “unrelatable” for the general public.

“I don’t think they appreciate the extend of what the NHS is going through and I think it’s disheartening to see people protesting and people going against the rules and regulations because we are definitely seeing the impact that’s having on people now,” she added.

According to Dr Ascanio Tridente, the hospital’s clinical director of intensive care, Whiston is now treating more than 120 patients with COVID-19, compared with the less than 10 patients at the start of September.

This, he said, had taken a “significant toll” on staff, but expressed confidence they would “pull through this together”.

He said: “We have seen this before, we know what it looks like, we know what the treatments that are likely to work are.

“At the same time, we also know how deadly it can be and that it is serious and must not be underestimated.”

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Liverpool currently has the third highest rate of transmission in the country, and was the first area to come under Tier 3 restrictions.

Such measures are the tightest imposed by the government’s three-tiered approach, and has resulted in the closure of bars and pubs not serving food.

According to the latest figures, there were 2,970 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in the Liverpool area during the seven days leading up to 17 October.

This, therefore, marks a rate of 596.3 cases per 100,000 people, and is down from 691.7.

For Whiston Hospital, emergency medicine consultant Dr Andy Ashton said cases at the trust had been doubling every week for four weeks since the start of September.

They are now rising at a rate of 60% per week.

“I think people have let out a big, long sigh and realised that we’re in for another long, hard winter,” he said.

Whiston’s medical director Rowan Pritchard Jones has now stressed the importance of the community following advice as he expressed how “difficult” it was for staff to know some people question the veracity of the disease.

He said: “It is so difficult for those of us who walk in every day to care for the most critically ill patients that we know someone sprayed ‘hoax’ on the side of a town hall. But they have.

“We work really hard to be upfront with our community who we are here to care for.

“We need them to do their bit as well to try and manage these numbers.”

Meanwhile, Dianne Brown, the chief nurse at the Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Trust, has called for recognition of “the impact” the surging numbers of COVID-19 cases were having on staff.

She added on Twitter: “Thank you to each and everyone of you, it is mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting – you are doing an amazing job.”

(c) Sky News 2020: Coronavirus: Liverpool hospitals treating more patients than in the peak of the first wave

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