Liverpool’s intensive care wards are at 95% capacity and medics expect patient numbers to surge past those seen in the pandemic’s first wave ‘in ten days’, councillor warns
- Covid-19 patients in Liverpool hospitals could surpass first peak in next 10 days
- Councillor says there are 277 confirmed cases in hospitals around the city
- The first peak of the pandemic in Liverpool saw hospitalised cases reach 400
Liverpool’s intensive care wards are running at 95 per cent of capacity as patient numbers in the city are expected to surge past the highest seen during the pandemic’s first wave ‘in the next 10 days,’ a councillor has warned.
There are around 277 confirmed cases currently in hospital, leaving its intensive care units at around 95 per cent of capacity, said councillor Paul Brant, cabinet member for adult health and social care at Liverpool City Council.
Around half of the intensive care beds across the Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are currently occupied by those being treated for the virus.
During the first peak of the coronavirus pandemic, Liverpool saw 400 patients hospitalised as they fought the disease. Mr Brand said wards in the half-built Royal Liverpool Hospital had to be utilised as overflow capacity to cope with patients, as there is no Nightingale hospital in the area.
Rising hospitalisations over the coming days could see other appointments cancelled to ensure Covid-19 patients are given priority, as a health boss warned staff they were facing a ‘critical point’.
The city is a Covid-19 hotspot, suffering the third highest infection rate in England. It had 517.4 cases per 100,000 people on October 9, according to the latest data from Public Health England, as the number of infections doubled compared to last week.
A tier-three lockdown came into force in the area from midnight, with pubs, bars, gyms and other hospitality venues told to close to curb the spread of the disease. The move has sparked outrage among local businesses.
Covid-19 patients are filling up beds at Royal Liverpool University Hospital, and other medical sites across the city, with local health bosses predicting the city could have more than 400 in-patients with coronavirus within the next 10 days
Hospitalisations across the country have been rising since the end of August, yesterday reaching levels higher than the start of June
Mr Brant said: ‘We’re expecting to see rates of inpatients continue to rise and probably surpass the levels in March or April within the next seven to 10 days.
‘There were 277 inpatients with Covid-19 diagnosis yesterday, about 96 or so are awaiting tests. I think the previous peak was about 400 or so.’
He said a further surge would lead to a pause in elective surgery, diagnostic procedures and screening services in order to free up beds and ‘ensure any sort of surge capacity in relation to Covid-19 is accommodated’.
He warned critical care beds are ‘filling up very fast’ on the Today programme, adding: ‘It has become clear that the intensity of the demand on hospital services here in Liverpool is crowding out anything other than dealing with Covid-19.’
On Monday, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Steve Warburton told staff in a memo it had reached a ‘critical point’.
He said the trust was scaling back planned procedures, adding it was ‘taking a phased approach to reducing our elective programme, while exploring options with other providers to maintain some of this work in alternative locations’.
He added: ‘We will continue to prioritise surgery based on clinical need, with a view to maintaining urgent and cancer surgery where possible.
‘We will continue to maintain access to outpatient appointments wherever possible, and maintain diagnostic activity.’
Liverpool is one of a host of cities to be placed under Tier 3 lockdown laws, sparking outrage among local businesses.
The Empored FIT gym in Wirral declared it was planning to ignore new laws and stay open.
Chris Ellerby-Hemmings, one of the owners, told The Times around 40 Merseyside gyms were planning to do the same.
He said: ‘Obviously there might be some enforcement that happens, maybe the council will come, and the police will come,
‘We would have a discussion and explain that we’re doing this — to make a stand — and ask the council leaders to give us evidence to prove why gyms should be closed.’
Fitness chain Pure Gym has seven gyms in the area and has warned it may take legal action of the Government-enforce closure.