'Hoping for the best but planning for the worst': Blackpool Victoria Hospital top doc worried about Covid's resort second coming

Hospital bosses are bracing themselves for a surge in Covid patients falling seriously ill, and admit they are "planning for the worst".

Monday, 28th September 2020, 9:56 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 10:30 am

While there were just six patients with coronavirus at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and the Clifton Hospital in St Annes last week, with none in intensive care, medical director Dr Jim Gardner said he expected that figure to shoot up.

He said there tends to be a "lag" between confirmed cases in the community and hospital admissions, and voiced his concern at Blackpool's infection rate of 64.5 per 100,000 people.

"Last week that was 30.8 so that figure has doubled," he said.

"We are beginning to anticipate that we will see a progressive increase in the number of patients coming into hospital, and also the number of patients who need to be treated in our intensive care unit.

"So that's a very worrying message.

"We will hope for the best but, frankly, plan for the worst."

Dr Gardner, speaking during his weekly coronavirus briefing, called on the public to "take seriously the messages that the Prime Minister has articulated to us all and reflect that we have a responsibility to protect ourselves" and others.

Dr Jim Gardner, the medical director at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and the Clifton Hospital in St Annes, giving his weekly Covid-19 briefing (Picture: Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)

He also urged them to get a flu vaccine.

"The worst scenario we could see now is a flu epidemic as well as a Covid epidemic and that fear of being overwhelmed in the services," he said.

"So I urge everybody who is eligible for a flu jab to please access that at the earliest opportunity."

Those infected with both flu and Covid-19 have a serious increased risk of death, Public Health England (PHE) said last week.

The flu vaccination programme has been expanded this year so more people than ever will be eligible for a vaccine - up to 30 million people in England.

There is no Covid-19 vaccine currently available, though several are being trialled, including one in Blackpool, which started today.

Some 247 people have died at the Vic, in Whinney Heys Road, after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The latest was recorded on Thursday, September 14, figures showed.

There have been a total of 1,346 Covid cases in the council area of Blackpool.

Today, the maximum fine for going outside during the 14-day self-isolation period rose to £10,000.

The resort has been under stricter restrictions since Saturday, with mixing between households in private homes and gardens now banned for everyone except those in support bubbles.

National restrictions include pubs and clubs being ordered to shut at 10pm.

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