‘Robust and rehearsed plans’ - How region’s hospitals are gearing up for potential rise in coronavirus cases

PUBLISHED: 06:30 22 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:51 24 September 2020

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: NNUH

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: NNUH

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More beds and “well-rehearsed plans” are among the measures Norfolk’s hospitals say are place to deal with a potential rise in coronavirus cases.

The James Paget University Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe James Paget University Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The county’s three hospitals have begun seeing admissions for the virus after spells of more than a month of being Covid-free.

There are currently four coronavirus-positive patients receiving treatment in Norfolk.

At the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, which will act as the region’s coronavirus surge centre, there is one positive coronavirus patient and another 11 who are recovering in hospital. No patients are in intensive care.

A hospital spokesman said: “We have robust and well-rehearsed plans in place for a potential rise in coronavirus cases.

Accident & Emergency Department entrance at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Photo: The Queen Elizabeth HospitalAccident & Emergency Department entrance at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Photo: The Queen Elizabeth Hospital

“We are well prepared with a new nine-bedded isolation unit that will be open this autumn and we are also opening 68 new beds in the new ward block. We all have a duty to do everything we can to limit the spread of Covid-19, which includes regular hand washing, wearing face coverings and social distancing wherever possible. We can also protect ourselves and loved ones this winter by getting a flu vaccination.”

At the James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, there are no positive cases. Throughout August and September 10 people have been discharged after recovering from the virus.

Joanne Segasby, the hospital’s chief operating officer, said: “Nationally and locally we are preparing for both an influx of Covid cases and the wider demands that winter is likely to bring. We are continuing to issue updates to our staff on a regular basis to ensure arrangements are in place for what may come and if we need to make changes for infection control reasons or local prevalence of COVID-19, we will do so.”

She urged people to continue following guidance, especially around wearing masks and social distancing.

At the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King’s Lynn, there has been four patients treated for coronavirus since August 1, with three currently being treated at this time.

Denise Smith, Chief Operating Officer, at the QEH, said: “We have a robust and well-rehearsed plan in place should there be a surge in cases and all of our winter planning has taken account of any potential increase in COVID-19 cases alongside normal winter pressures.

“As we did before, we can quickly increase the number of COVID-19 only wards and areas to deal with any local increases safely while continuing to treat other patients.

“We ask all members of our local community do their bit to help us to stop the spread of the virus by washing their hands regularly and observing social distancing.”

On Monday, Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said the country faced a tough winter as the season benefited respiratory viruses.

He said mortality rates from Covid-19 were “significantly greater” than seasonal flu, which killed around 7,000 annually or 20,000 in a bad year.

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