Covid patient numbers in Sheffield hospitals creep up as Sajid Javid issues lockdown update
The number of Covid patients in Sheffield hospitals is beginning to creep up again, despite the huge vaccination drive.
The seven-day average for the number of patients with Covid at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals stands at 13.4, as of June 17, the latest date for which that figure is available in the official government statistics.
That’s nearly double the low of 7.1 which was recorded on May 30, but remains well below the peak of 405.4 on January 24 this year.
The latest daily figures show that as of last Tuesday, June 22, the trust, which runs the Royal Hallamshire and Northern General hospitals, was caring for 18 patients with Covid, just one of whom required ventilation.
The vaccination programme is said to have ‘broken the link’ between infections and hospital admissions, meaning the recent rapid rise in cases has not led to the sort of increase in hospitalisations which was seen during previous waves.
But Professor Peter Openshaw, a member of the Nervtag advisory group from Imperial College London, this week said the link had not been completely broken, despite the latest figures showing 84.1 per cent of adults in the UK have had their first jab and 61.6 per cent have received both doses.
Professor Openshaw told Sky News: “There is an increase in hospitalisation rate but fortunately the people who are most vulnerable to hospitalisation and to serious consequences, including dying of Covid, are those who have been most vaccinated.”
He added that it was ‘so important’ that anyone who is in the high-risk age groups and not yet vaccinated does get jabbed because the Delta variant of the virus, first recorded in India, is ‘really good at spreading’.
Professor Openshaw continued: “It’s pretty likely that people will either get immune either by vaccination or by being infected and there’s absolutely no debate at all, that the best way to get immune to this virus is by getting vaccinated.”
The latest weekly Covid case rate for Sheffield, for the seven days to June 22, is 95.4 cases per 100,000 people, which is up from 52 for the week ending June 15.
For the UK as a whole, the latest weekly case rate now stands at 123.7 cases per 100,000 people.
It comes as the new Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that lifting coronavirus restrictions as soon as possible was his “absolute priority”, but stressed the need for caution in order to make sure changes are “irreversible”.
During a visit to St Thomas’ Hospital in London, he told broadcasters: “I want to see the restrictions lifted and life going back to normal as quickly as possible.
“Right here and now that is my absolute priority. I want to see those restrictions lifted as soon as we can, as quickly as possible.
“In terms of the road map to that you’ll have to wait for my statement to Parliament later today.
“It’s going to be irreversible, there’s no going back. That’s why we want to be careful during that process.”