England’s hospitals now have more Covid patients than at any point in first wave
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More coronavirus patients are in NHS hospitals in England now than any other time this year, including the first wave in April, new figures have revealed.
New figures from NHS England reveals there were 20,426 patients in NHS hospitals in England at 8am on Monday, compared to the previous highest number of 18,974 patients recorded on April 12.
The record for most Covid-19 infections in one day in the UK was also broken on Monday 41,385 cases were confirmed as of 9am, according to Government figures.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said: "This very high level of infection is of growing concern at a time when our hospitals are at their most vulnerable, with new admissions rising in many regions."
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Hospitals across the South are nearing a breaking point in capacity with the number of coronavirus patients in need of treatment, continuing to rise.
Salisbury District Hospital in Wiltshire is under "intense and significant" pressure and has urged for A&E to only be visited by those enduring a "genuine emergency".
For the first time since the pandemic broke out in the UK, hospitals in Gloucestershire are "extremely busy" with more than 200 Covid-19 patients to deal with.
Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, said: "We know that the rate of Covid-19 admissions is rising and some trusts are reporting up to three times the number of Covid patients than at the peak of the first wave.
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"This means hospitals and also ambulance services in Tier 4 areas and beyond are incredibly busy, compounded by increasing staff absences due to illness and the need to self-isolate."
Dr Katherine Henderson, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, described her experience of working in a hospital on Christmas Day as one of "wall-to-wall Covid".
Dr Henderson told BBC Breakfast: "The chances are that we will cope but we cope at a cost – the cost is not doing what we had hoped, which is being able to keep non-Covid activities going.
"So we will stretch staff, the problem is at the moment we have a lot of staff sickness."
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