Rapid rise of Covid-19 across Cambridgeshire warns public health chief

There is concern that if Covid-19 rates continue to rise at the rate that they are, hospitals will become overwhelmed again.

There is concern that if Covid-19 rates continue to rise at the rate that they are, hospitals will become overwhelmed again. (stock image) - Credit: Peter Byrne / PA

Rates of Covid-19 are rising and Cambridgeshire NHS faces its “most challenging time yet” says the county’s director of public health. 

Dr Liz Robin said: “The rise in Cambridgeshire is much more rapid than it is Peterborough, which simply wasn’t the case looking at the figures from just a month ago.” 

She said: “Those most at risk are in the age group 60-plus.” 

Sharp rises in cases were reported in Cambridgeshire throughout the second half of December.  

“If we look at the numbers of patients in hospital, there is a huge increase right across the spectrum, particularly in Addenbrooke’s which has shown the highest rise of all the North West Anglia Foundation Trust (NWAFT) hospitals,” she said.

“At Peterborough City Hospital (PCH) and Hinchingbrooke, again, there have been increases in Covid-19 cases, but the rate of increase is slightly less acute than at Addenbrooke’s. 

“What all of this means, of course, is that sadly the mortality rate has also increased and at PCH mortality rates are higher now than they were at the peak in April and May, and still rising.” 

Dr Liz Robin, director of public health for Cambridgeshire

“…we are now in the most challenging time that our local NHS trusts have faced,” Dr Liz Robin said at the latest meeting of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board. - Credit: Archant

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Dr Robin said: “We mustn’t scare people; but at the same time, we need to find a way to convince people that this is very serious indeed with the new highly-contagious variant of the coronavirus in the UK. 

“This is the most critical time that our NHS trusts are facing.” 

As of January 11, 2021, there were 125 Covid-19 patients at Peterborough City Hospital, and 72 at Hinchingbrooke. 

The figures for Addenbrookes up to January 8, 2021, show 206 Covid-19 patients of which 57 are in critical care. 

Facts and figures were discussed by The Local Outbreak Engagement Board which was formed late last month in response to increases in both recorded numbers of people contracting the coronavirus, as well as greater numbers needing medical attention as a result and hospitalisation. 

Following their first online meeting just before Christmas, Cllr John Holdich, leader of Peterborough Council, said: “While we must stop short of scare-mongering people into obeying the lockdown rules, it’s quite clear that there will be some delay – possibly months – before many getting a vaccine jab” he said.