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'We're past second Covid peak, but we must remain cautious', King's Lynn hospital boss warns

The boss of Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital says she is confident the trust is now over the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

The remarks by Caroline Shaw were made as she outlined reset and recovery plans in a report to the hospital’s board of directors this morning.

But, although new figures out today suggest deaths from Covid-19 may also have started to fall, she warned there was still a need for caution.

King's Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital (44387413)
King's Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital (44387413)

Last week, senior hospital bosses told the Lynn News that the number of patients being treated for coronavirus at the QEH had fallen by around 70 per cent since the peak of the second wave in January.

At the height of the crisis, there were 220 patients with the virus and eight wards dedicated to Covid care.

But Mrs Shaw says the number of wards is now down to five and staff sickness levels are also declining.

Caroline Shaw, chief executive of Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Photo: Joshua Yates (37996205)
Caroline Shaw, chief executive of Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Photo: Joshua Yates (37996205)

She wrote: “Over 97 per cent of QEH staff have had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination at QEH’s hub, and staff are now receiving emails from COVID-Track inviting them to book their second dose of the vaccine.

“Despite these positive signs and the consistent downward trend of COVID-19 patients we remain cautious and fully focused as we develop our recovery and reset plans, which include returning to separate medical and surgical wards again and reopening our Sandringham Unit as our protected green (elective) surgical and treatment unit as soon as possible.

“This will significantly help as we address the substantial backlog of elective activity that has built up during COVID-19, and which we will be seeking to address for our patients as quickly as we can, consistent with the wider NHS.”

Mrs Shaw’s report was presented shortly after the release of the latest weekly data on the pandemic from the Office for National Statistics.

It recorded 15 coronavirus-related deaths across all settings in the borough during the week to February 19, down from 29 in the previous week.

Thirteen of the deaths occurred in hospital, with the other two in care homes.

Infection rates are continuing to fall, although the latest available figures suggest numbers are declining more slowly in West Norfolk than in other parts of the county.

There are also concerns about rising numbers in neighbouring districts beyond the county border.

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