Thanet covid rates rise during Christmas week

Covid map

Covid rates for Thanet are rising again, according to government data.

The rolling 7 day rate for the isle had dipped to 454.5 per 100,000 in the week up to November 24 but that has now risen to 603.9 for the seven days leading to December 30 – a 36.6% rise on the previous week. The England rate is 487 per 100,000 – a rise of almost 50% on the preceding seven days.

Today shows 190 new positive tests reported for today (January 4), making 1,026 in the last seven days – a rise of 36.6%. A total of 7,863 positive tests have been recorded for Thanet to date.

Thanet now has test sites at Manston, Margate, Birchington and Ramsgate Port.

The government data shows three deaths within 28 days of a positive test for Coronavirus reported on 4 January making 24 losses in seven days and a total of 252 losses of people who had tested positive within 28 days.

Data for East Kent Hospitals is yet to be updated.

The last recorded information was for up to December 30. This shows 423 patients being cared for with Covid and 29 on ventilators for that date. As of December 29 the Trust had 51 unoccupied Adult General and Acute beds.

East Kent Hospitals Trust has recorded 813 covid-related deaths to date.

The Trust has 1,161 beds in total. Of these 981 are general and acute and around 43% of these are currently in use for patients with covid.

Data gained from an NHS dashboard over the weekend showed QEQM Hospital in Margate was unable to maintain the nurse to patient staffing ratio for intensive care and had been marked as Critcon 3 – meaning the service is at full stretch.

William Harvey Hospital in Ashford is at Critcon 2 and is maintaining staff ratios. Kent & Canterbury is at level one but is not sustaining staff ratios, according to the details published from the dashboard.

What is Critcon?

The Critcon measure is for staffing and capacity in the pandemic.

Critcon 3 is when expansion into non-critical care areas (e.g. wards) and/or use of paediatric facilities for adult critical care is needed. It means the Trust is operating at or near maximum physical capacity and maximum mutual aid between Trusts – the transfer of patients and/or staff to other hospitals-, is necessary.

The prime imperative in Critcon 3 is to prevent any single trust entering Critcon 4 which is the stage where services are overwhelmed. NHS England intervention is needed to declare this level.

The Independent article said there are 114 patients in critical care, with 55 on ventilators and only 83 beds available on the adult critical care wards across Kent and Medway.

East Kent Hospitals Trust has been asked for confirmation of its figures. Last confirmed figures from the Trust were for December 29 the Trust when it was at 96 per cent of traditional capacity (existing ICU beds not extra ‘surge’ beds) and December 30 when the highest was 91 per cent in any of the ITUs but the trust has experienced 113% capacity at points last month.

Pressures are mounting due to the new covid variant which is more contagious than the original strain.


Vaccination roll out (Image iStock/MarsBars)

Two vaccines have now been approved for use,  Pfizer/BioNtech and Oxford-AstraZeneca, and a vaccination programme is underway.

Hundreds of new vaccination sites are due to come onstream this week, joining the 700 which are already in operation.

The first Oxford AstraZeneca vaccinations will be delivered at a small number of hospitals for the first few days for surveillance purposes, as is standard practice, before the bulk of supplies are send to hundreds of GP-led services later in the week.

The new Oxford vaccine is easier to transport and store than the Pfizer jab, which has to be kept at minus 70 degrees until shortly before it is used, making it easier to deliver in care homes.

Last week, regulators and the four UK chief medical officers announced that the gap between first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine should be lengthened so that more people can be protected faster. This has raised concerns over whether protection will still be afforded in a 12 week gap when recommendation was for a three week gap.

Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to make a public statement at 8pm today, which is expected to announce a tightening of restrictions.

The Speaker of the House of Commons has granted a request from the Government to recall the House at 11.30am on Wednesday (January 6) where MPs will consider public health regulations in light of the upcoming announcement.