By Chris Young LDRS

Bradford’s Covid infection rate finally seems to be coming down, but the District’s hospitals will still face a difficult few weeks.

Sarah Muckle, Head of Public Health in Bradford, has told Councillors that with people infected with Covid 19 being admitted to hospital weeks after the initial infection, it would still take some time for the recently improving picture to relieve pressure on “struggling” hospitals.

Latest figures show the district’s infection rate fell from 587.1 per 100,000 people (3,169 cases) in the seven days to November 6, to 532.3 (2,873 new cases) in the seven days to November 13.
Two weeks ago, the number of confirmed and suspected Covid-19 patients at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was 158, with nine in intensive care.

Latest figures show that now stands at 167, with 14 people in ICU. It’s a significant increase from the 105 patients at the peak of the first wave and while there was never a Covid-free period, lowest numbers were around six to eight patients.

Mrs Muckle updated members of Bradford Council’s Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee about the current Covid situation at an online meeting on Tuesday.
She told members: “The positive indication is that numbers of infections have come down, and we hope that situation continues.”
But she pointed out that there had been 36 Covid related deaths the past week, up from 33 deaths the week before.
Mrs Muckle added: “It is fair to say hospitals are struggling.
“There have been 107 admissions in the week leading up to Tuesday.
“Hospitals are two to three weeks behind the curve in experiencing the pressures of infections.
“If infections start to come down then hospitals will be about three weeks behind, so we’re hoping it starts to even out because at the moment they are struggling quite a lot.”

She told members that even as Covid pressures eased on hospitals, there was likely to be “a lot of people” needing to access routine care that had been put on hold due to the crisis – which would lead to further pressures.

Councillor Alun Griffiths (Lib Dem, Idle and Thackley), a former GP, pointed out that hospitals were regularly placed under pressure with the onset of Winter, and asked how much more hospitals were struggling than normal.

Mrs Muckle said: “The Chief Executives of the two hospital trusts say they are facing much more than normal winter pressures. They have had to halt a lot of elective work they would normally keep going during winter to focus on Covid. Hopefully it will be short lived.”

Councillor Paul Godwin (Lab, Keighley West), works in Airedale Hospital. He said there were around 80 Covid patients in that hospital, and added: “I had noticed that the people in ICU are now younger than at the start of the pandemic.
“The majority of people in the ICU aren’t in their 80s now, many are in their 60s.”
Mrs Muckle replied: “The fact that there are younger people in ICU now might make people think more about where the risk is.”