Updated 21/12/20 @ 14:02
As of this morning, BBC South East News announced that 375 beds within East Kent Hospital University Foundation Trust three main hospitals, William Harvey (Ashford) Kent & Canterbury (Canterbury) and Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother (Margate) are occupied by persons with Covid-19. However, the figure released by the BBC at 9am has turned out not to be true. The number of covid-19 patients in Trust beds on the 21/12/20, was 353, according to NHS Digital data.
By the following day though 22/12/20, 374 beds were occupied meaning that 33.4% of all beds belonging to the Trust are now occupied by Covid-19 patients. This has risen from 32% on the 15th Dec.
The previous peak of covid-19 patients happened on 20 April when 187 patients occupied the Trusts beds. That was equivalent to 16.7% of all beds occupied.
The number of people occupying beds within the Trust on the 21st Dec is 375, which is a 100% rise on the previous peak back in April.
The Trusts minutes make it clear their second wave begun in early Oct. Yet the Government did not announce a second lockdown until Oct 31. By this time the new more transmissible and deadly strain of covid-19 had taken hold in our communities.
On the day lockdown 2 began (1st Nov), there were 21 Covid-19 patients occupying the Trusts beds, according to NHS Digital’s data. By the time lockdown had ended on the 2nd Dec, there were 179 Covid-19 patients, in the Trusts beds.
A more transmissible strain of the virus was first spotted in Kent on 20 September and linked to the sharp rise in cases in the County during the November lockdown.
Evidence is emerging in the data that not only is the new variant more transmissible, but also more deadly than the previous variant. We believe by the time mid January 2021 arrives our suspicions that the variant is more deadly will be borne out.
The Guardian report “The new variant first came to light in late November [it was mid Sept] when Public Health England was looking at why infection rates in Kent were not falling despite national restrictions, and we married this observation with the genome data.
The variant grew exponentially during a period when national lockdown measures were in place, giving plausible credence this variant is more transmissible says, Sharon Peacock, director of the Covid-19 Genomics UK Consortium and professor of public health and microbiology at the University of Cambridge.”
During the second wave most but not all patients with Covid-19 have been brought into the Trusts Hospitals. There has been some internal cross contamination within the Trusts hospitals but not as much as there was in the first wave.
In Early August 58% of the trust’s coronavirus patients “probably” or “definitely” caught the virus in hospital – compared to a national average at the time of 22%.
This lead to the CQC recently issuing a s31 under the Health & Social Care Act 2008, meaning the Trust had failed to provide care and treatment [of it patients] in a safe way, between 30 June to 26 July. The number of people testing positive for the virus 15 days after being admitted to hospital was twice as high in our Trusts hospitals as at other acute trust hospitals.
The number who tested positive eight days after admission was almost three times higher.
Official guidance states a positive test after 15 days in hospital is “definitely healthcare-associated” while a positive test after eight days is “probably healthcare-associated.”
The Trust may have inadvertently hastened some towards their deaths by allowing the virus to spread within its wards and across its hospitals.
Yes, most people survive the virus, as the median age for dying from it is 82.4. However not all survive and up to the 11 Dec, 637 patients had died in the Trusts Hospitals from Covid-19. How many of these might have had their ends hastened by the internal transmission on the Trusts wards and hospitals?
As more beds become occupied by Covid-19 patients, there are fewer beds for others with life threatening illnesses who might need them.
As of the 15th Dec, 26 patients were, receiving mechanical ventilation to help them breath. By the 22nd Dec this had risen to 27 patients needing help to breath.
If the rise continues at the predicted rate, there is the possibility that near half of all the Trusts beds could soon be occupied by Covid-19 patients, by the new year.
As you know this new strain of Covid-19 is more infectious, hence the continuing surge in numbers which has led Kent and other areas to be placed in Tier 4.
The Shepway Vox Team
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