East Kent Hospitals caring for rising number of patients with covid

Covid care Photo EKHUFT

Weekly data from NHS England shows a large rise in the number of covid patients being cared for by East Kent Hospitals (Margate, Ashford and Canterbury).

The latest data shows 349 beds in use for covid patients under the trust on December 15.

This is a rise of some 122 from the previous week when the Trust had recorded  227 covid patients as of December 8,.

The data also shows a rise of mechanical ventilation beds in use for patients with confirmed positive covid tests from 18 on December 8 to 26 on December 15.

The trust has recorded 669 covid related deaths across its hospitals since the pandemic began up to December 17 although data between December 13-17 – recording 40 losses- is provisional and could be updated.

A statement from the Kent & Medway Clinical Commissioning Group says: “All hospitals across Kent and Medway continue to be under significant pressure due to the high rates of infection in the local communities.

“We have opened more critical care beds to support Covid-19 patients, and will be opening more. We’re continuing to provide cancer and other urgent operations. However, we are now pausing non-urgent elective services. This will allow staff to move to support the increased number of Covid-19 patients.

“Initially this will be for a two week period. We will keep this under weekly review and will contact individual patients where appointments need to be rescheduled.”

Data obtained by Shepway Vox also shows some 1,544 QEQM Hospital staff self-isolating due to the virus since March. For December that figure currently stands at 62,

Thanet data

Latest government data (published December 19 and displaying the rate for the week up to December 14), shows rises in the positive case rate per 100,000 people across Kent.

The figure for Thanet has started to rise again although the district is now among the lower rates in the county, standing at 536.9 per 100,000 according to government data. Kent County Council data, for week ending December 15, has Thanet at a much higher rate of 596.8.

The data shows 75 new positive cases reported for Thanet today (December 19) making a seven day total of 760, up 27.3% on the preceding seven days. A total of 5,800 positive tests have been recorded for Thanet.

The total number of people recorded who have died within 28 days of testing positive for Coronavirus as of 18 December was 215 (loss of life within 28 days of a positive test). Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate but may not be the primary cause of death.


A new variant of coronavirus has been identified which may be associated with the faster spread in the South East of England.

Scientists have warned the new strain spreading rapidly throughout London and Kent is 50% more contagious than any previously detected.

A government Cabinet meeting is being held today where a travel ban is among options being considered for London and Kent.

Health Secretary confirms new variant of Covid and Tier 3 restrictions for areas including London


The NHS is carrying out its vaccination programme with the Pfizer/BioTech vaccine. Sites include three GP surgeries in Thanet and William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.

More practices will be included on a phased basis during December and in the coming months.

People aged 80 and over as well as care home workers have been first to receive the jab, along with NHS workers who are at higher risk.

The GP sites providing Covid-19 vaccinations in Thanet

Asymptomatic testing

Targeted asymptomatic testing launched in Kent on Friday (December 18), with the first sites in Swale and Thanet to be followed by a rolling programme across the county to try to reduce the rates of Covid-19.

KCC has been working closely with Thanet District Council to identify a site for Ramsgate Port.

The site is in addition to the DHSC run regional and local test sites for people who have symptoms, including those at Manston and Margate. The asymptomatic testing will find people who don’t currently have symptoms who may be unknowingly spreading the virus.

People will be invited to testing by a letter or email.

Residents attending this testing will undergo a lateral flow swab test and will receive their result within half an hour of attending the test. If they are positive, they will be told to self-isolate, follow the national guidance and they will be instructed to have a PCR test to confirm their positive result.

If they are negative, they must still continue to observe social distancing guidelines, wear a mask in public and regularly wash hands.

Staff have been recruited to the asymptomatic testing sites using funding from central Government to support local councils in tier 3 to help reduce rates.

Weekly covid rates (up to December 13)  per 100,000 (government data)

The England rate is 226.2 per 100,000 as of December 13.

Basildon 774.6
Medway 772.9
Swale 752.3
Havering 744.4
Thurrock 687.7
Dover 643.4
Ashford 633.7
Epping Forest 625
Redbridge 616.9
Maidstone 612.2
Broxbourne 605.5
Hastings 589.2
Brentwood 586.9
Barking and Dagenham 578.2
Canterbury 575.6
Enfield 518.9
Gravesham 510.6
Waltham Forest 506.5
Bexley 497.4
Thanet 493.2
Folkestone and Hythe 492.9
Tonbridge and Malling 483.5

Other Kent areas

Dartford  465.3

Tunbridge Wells  305.8

Sevenoaks  289.9

The figures are updated daily, although there is some time lag on some statistics. They can be found on the government dashboard here and here and on the KCC website here