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HEARTBREAK: Renewed calls for masks to be worn indoors

HEARTBREAK: Renewed calls for masks to be worn indoors

North Tees Hospital, in Stockton, Image: Ian Cooper/Teesside Live

A hospital chief says too many Teesside families are dealing with covid heartbreak amid renewed calls for masks to be worn indoors.

Virus demands at the region’s hospitals have plateaued in recent weeks but pressure on accident and emergency departments has remained high.

A total of 46 covid patients are being treated at University Hospital of North Tees – six of whom are in intensive care.

Seven patients have been discharged in the past 24 hours but one person has died within 28-days of a positive covid test.

Deputy medical director Chris Tulloch said the virus remained a “very real danger”.

“We are seeing more covid-positive patients and sadly some of them will not survive,” he added.

“There are too many local families dealing with this heartbreak.

“We’re asking everyone to protect each other.

“Please get vaccinated, wear a mask indoors, avoid unnecessary contact by practising physical distancing and wash your hands thoroughly and often.

“We’re also very concerned about the impact increasing numbers will have on our ability to deliver the vital services our community relies upon. We are managing but everyone is under strain.”

There have been calls for the Government to roll out “Plan B” with extra covid measures in response to higher rates of covid and pressure on the NHS.

These would include making face coverings compulsory in many indoor settings and advising people to work from home.

Mr Tulloch said no-one wanted a return to legal restrictions as the festive season drawn nearer.

He added: “We’re appealing to everyone to do their bit to limit infection rates to reduce the need for legal measures to be introduced again.

“Please protect your family, your friends and co-workers by doing what you can to reduce the spread of covid.”

Neighbouring South Tees NHS Hospitals Trust has seen a slight rise on the number of covid patients on its wards since the start of last week.

It is now treating 66 virus patients – seven of whom are receiving critical care.

This is up from 59 patients on October 16.

A trust spokesman said: “The number of patients requiring covid-care in hospital means that our clinicians continue to devote two wards and one critical care unit to the care of patients with covid.

“It’s important to note that community infections are now higher than late January 2020 when the number of patients needing hospital covid-care was over 200.

“The smaller number of patients requiring hospital care at this time is testament to the success of the covid vaccine. The vaccine saves lives. And it helps to prevent people from becoming seriously ill.”

The trust is also urging Teessiders to book their flu jabs and covid booster injections to ease pressure on the wider health service.

The spokesman added: “The NHS is still very busy and during the same period our emergency department – which is for life threatening emergencies and major trauma only.

“Our urgent treatment centres saw 21,514 people – a rise of more than 3,000 adult attendances compared to the same time last year.

“Everyone can do their bit by using services wisely and thinking pharmacy, GP or 111 online first and keeping A&E free for people who need to be there.”


Words: Alex Metcalfe, Local Democracy Reporter

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