Covid-19 cases fall at Royal Free and Whittington hospitals

The Whittington Hospital

Covid-19 cases at the Whittington Hospital fell by almost 25 per cent in two weeks - but critical care remained at 100 per cent of capacity. - Credit: Whittington Health NHS Trust

The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital beds at the Royal Free and the Whittington fell by almost 15% in two weeks, new data shows.  

However, the number of people requiring critical care was still rising.

The latest bed occupancy figures, published late last week, went up to Tuesday, January 26.

They showed hospital cases were starting to go the same way as infections.

In Barnet, the infection rate had fallen, week-on-week, every day since January 6.

In Camden and Haringey, it had done so every day since January 9.

Barnet’s rate dropped by 60% in three weeks, from 995.8 cases per 100,000 residents on January 5, to 393.6 on January 26.

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Camden’s fell by 64%, from 684.7 to 245.2.

Haringey’s fell furthest – 66% – from 1,053.1 to 355.9.

Trends in hospital cases typically trail weeks behind infection rates, as the virus takes time to incubate, cause symptoms and become severe enough to require hospitalisation.

So when the boroughs’ infection rates had started to fall, the two hospitals were seeing cases continue to rise.

On January 5, the Whittington was had 179 coronavirus patients and the Royal Free 488. By January 12, the figures had risen to 185 and 503.

However, in the two weeks after that they began to drop.

By January 26, the Royal Free was caring for 452 Covid-19 patients – a fall of more than 10%.

The Whittington had 139 beds occupied by Covid-19 patients – a reduction of just under 25%.

But data showed that the number of patients requiring critical care and mechanical ventilation were not following the same trend.

On January 12, 112 patients across the two trusts required mechanical ventilation.

By January 26, the figure was 113.

Data, released late last week, showed critical care bed occupancy went up to January 24.

It showed that on January 24, 131 adult critical care beds were occupied across the two trusts.

Two weeks earlier, it was 126.

The majority of critical care is being delivered by the Royal Free, which has called in the army to help cope with the pressure.

CEO Kate Slemeck said last week that army combat medics were due to remain for a month.

The Whittington's critical care beds had been 100% full for three weeks running.

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