Covid-19 patients double in major Scottish health board within a week

People mixing around Christmas and New Year is being blamed for a sharp rise in hospitalisations in one of Scotland’s largest health boards after the number of people in hospital doubled within a week.

People are being urged to stay at home to stop the spread of Covid-19
People are being urged to stay at home to stop the spread of Covid-19

NHS Tayside, which serves Dundee and the surrounding area and includes Ninewells hospital, has seen hospitalisations double since New Year’s Eve.

On December 31, the number of patients requiring hospital treatment for Covid-19 in the region sat at 57, the equivalent of around 33 per cent or a third of the hospital’s capacity.

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However, as of Thursday January 7, data shows 60 additional people have been admitted to hospitals in the region with the total now sitting at 117 and capacity at 68 per cent.

At this rate, Tayside will breach its Covid-19 capacity of 172 patients within a week.

The figures paint a stark picture of the situation facing Scottish hospitals and public health experts and the Scottish Government have warned the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better.

It is understand the sharp rise is due to residents in Dundee mixing more over the festive period, with cases from those gatherings beginning to be felt in hospitals.

Dundee is also seeing the sixth highest case rate per 100,000 people with 392.4 cases on average over the last seven days.

In total, 586 new cases have been recorded in the city in the last seven days.

Despite these startling numbers, the area was not on the list of health boards concerning the Scottish Government alongside NHS Borders, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire and Ayrshire and Arran when Nicola Sturgeon announced tighter restrictions on Monday.

Dr David Connell, respiratory physician and clinical lead for winter planning, who has been working in the COVID-19 areas at Ninewells Hospital, said: “This increase in admissions is on top of the usual winter demands and pressures which come with this time of year. The recent wintry and icy weather has also led to a large number of people attending hospital, many of whom now require surgery following slips and trips.

“Unfortunately, this increasing trend in hospital admissions due to COVID-19 is going to continue for a number of weeks to come, so it’s now more vitally important than ever that everyone follows the lockdown guidance and stays at home to help protect the NHS at this critical time.”

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