Twenty-nine patients within 14 days of their first Covid diagnosis were being treated in hospitals on the Fylde coast as of yesterday.
Some 22 were on general wards at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, six were in intensive care, and one was in Clifton Hospital in St Annes, medical director Dr Jim Gardner said.
A further 36 people remain in hospital but are no longer considered Covid-positive because their diagnosis came over a fortnight ago.
Dr Gardner said there has been an ‘encouraging reduction’ in the number of Covid patients, which peaked at 95 during this latest wave of infections.
Blackpool Victoria Hospital
He said: “It looks like the community numbers have plateaued out a bit in the mid-300s per 100,000 and it may have been partly due to half-term [at schools], although it’s generally reported that the numbers were dropping a little bit before that.
“Encouragingly from the hospital perspective – because most, though not all, poorly patients who are in hospital with Covid are over the age of 65 – we are actually seeing the positive rate in the community in the over-60s dropping off, so that’s really important.
“Actually, that probably links to the really remarkable effectiveness of the Covid booster jab.
“If you are over the age of 50 and it’s coming up to or is more than six months since you had your original course, please arrange to get a Covid booster jab because the effectiveness and the safety of that jab is astonishing.”
Ministers across the UK this week accepted a recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that the booster programme should be extended to include people aged 40 to 49.
Second doses for 16 and 17-year-olds have also been approved after the JCVI said this group should be offered a second jab of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab 12 weeks after they received the first.
The JCVI said that the broadening of the booster campaign and the offer of a second jab to 16 and 17-year-olds will “help extend our protection into 2022”.
Speaking during his weekly coronavirus briefing yesterday, Dr Gardner said Covid remains a ‘very dangerous condition’ as he reported the deaths of 13 more patients within 28 days of their diagnosis.
It takes the death toll at the Vic to 875, after 23 deaths were announced last week too.
“That’s with Covid and not necessarily of Covid,” Dr Gardner added.
“But it clearly becomes a contributory factor to a complicated health story often for people.
“We have seen particularly some younger patients, and I’ll say again about ladies who are pregnant or who are planning to become pregnant: it’s so important to get the Covid jabs in that group because we have seen some very, very poorly ladies and it’s a very sad and difficult time if that occurs.”