Blackpool Vic death toll tops 700 as 24 more die - but there's hope as number of patients drops by a third in just a week
The number of patients in hospital on the Fylde coast within 14 days of their first positive Covid test has dropped a third over the past week to 64.
Last week it was 96, and a fortnight ago it was 126.
Dr Jim Gardner, medical director at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and Clifton Hospital in St Annes, said: “That’s the lowest number since the end of September. We are very encouraged by that.”
But he cautioned: “We are still operating 28 critical care beds where our normal capacity is 16, and there is still a lot of poorly patients in those beds who are Covid-positive so we are by no means out of the woods yet.”
Eight new patients with the coronavirus were admitted yesterday, Dr Gardner also said during his weekly briefing this afternoon.
“Although the numbers are down, they are not out and of course, as I always say, we have to stay vigilant in that space.”
Some 24 new Covid-related deaths – patients who have died within 28 days of testing positive – have been reported in the past week, taking the Vic’s death toll, according to official NHS statistics, to 705.
Dr Gardner said community infection rates have “also improved a little bit”, citing 209 new cases per 100,000 people in Blackpool, down from 229 last week, 202 in Fylde, down from 272, and 194 in Wyre, down from 241.
“What’s encouraging, actually, in those figures is we are seeing the positivity rate in the over-60s falling quite sharply,” he said.
“We hope some of that is to do with the immunisation programme.”
Dr Gardner urged all those over 70, who have yet to be given a jab appointment, to contact their GP.
“Now is the time to get in touch and make sure you have an appointment because we now have the capacity to catch up on that group and make sure they are fully immunised before the system starts to come down the age groups and risk groups,” he said.
And he praised local efforts to test those with symptoms, adding: “There is great testing capacity across the Fylde coast and it’s incredibly important in staying on top of this issue and looking out for the possibility of new variants.
“So many of those tests go to central laboratories and are screened for viral variants. If you have any flu-like symptoms and you are available to get a test, I’d encourage you to do that.”
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