There are now 648 Covid patients in beds at the Royal Derby Hospital, Chesterfield Royal Hospital and Queen’s Hospital in Burton.
Before Christmas that figure was around 300, by mid-October it was 75 and for much of the summer very few Covid patients were being treated in the wards.
Each of our hospitals now receives an incomparable number of Covid patients.
Royal Derby and Chesterfield Royal are currently treating more than double the number of patients they saw at the height of the first wave.
The heads of Derby and Burton hospitals say the level of demand “continues to exceed our worst case scenario”.
The magnitude of the pressure on our local NHS services is significantly greater than at any time during the pandemic, with numbers continuing to rise and services increasingly in demand.
It is believed that there are a number of factors behind the increase in the number of hospitalized patients, including a rapid increase in cases in the community caused by the Christmas mix, winter conditions and people from more and more tired of following Covid prevention advice.
Hospital heads say the impact of the second strain of Covid-19, thought to be up to 70% more transmissible, would “not yet be achieved in the East Midlands, but expected in mid- January”.
Dean Wallace, director of public health for Derbyshire County Council, said last week he believed the rapid rise in community infections with the virus in Derby and Amber Valley was caused by the new strain.
He said national officials failed to provide local leaders with evidence of the new strain’s spread across the county and town.
As of Monday, January 11, 349 Covid-19 patients were now being treated at Royal Derby Hospital, more than double the number he was treating before Christmas.
The highest number of Covid-19 patients the hospital saw at any one time during the first wave of the virus in April and at the start of the second wave in November was around 160.
There are now 141 Covid-19 patients at Queen’s Hospital in Burton, about the level it saw when it hit its peak in mid-November.
At the height of the first wave, it had fewer than 100 Covid-19 patients.
However, Gavin Boyle, managing director of Derby University Hospitals and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, says the number of Covid patients in intensive care remains below the first peak, which he attributes to improved treatment.
Nonetheless, these levels are still much higher than what the hospital would typically experience, even during the winter, and it has had to bring in other staff to help the intensive care staff.
He is working to increase the capacity of his intensive care unit.
Royal Derby Hospital has 19 intensive care patients and Queen’s Hospital has eight.
For Royal Derby, this is approaching its first high of around 30. Queen’s broke its high of around 10 in November.
Meanwhile, the Royal Chesterfield Hospital has also seen its number of Covid patients skyrocket since before Christmas.
As of January 11, it was treating 158 patients with Covid-19.
Before Christmas, there were less than 40.
Its staff are treating 13 intensive care patients with the virus. His all-time high was 18 at the end of November.
In hospitals in Derby and Burton, which passed 1,000 Covid-19 deaths last week, the pandemic has now caused a reduction in surgeries and elective treatments “to enable theater staff to withstand the pressures of a intensive care unit expanded at both sites ”.
It has also reduced outpatient visits and diagnostic appointments.
This, he says, “worsens an already difficult position in terms of backlogs and waiting times.”
Mr Boyle said last week: ‘It is so important that everyone in our communities follow the guidelines regarding hands, face, space and stick to the lockout restrictions.
“I know it’s expensive, but it’s extremely important, especially in this phase of our fight against Covid-19.
” We are all in there. My actions affect you, your actions affect me.
“We must follow these rules, not only for ourselves, but to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities.”