Data from NHS England suggests that since the start of national lockdown on the 5th of January, hospital admissions to the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have been slowly dropping. This includes both patients admitted with Covid-19 and those testing positive for Covid-19 within the hospitals.

The Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is made up of 4 hospitals: the John Radcliffe Hospital, the Churchill Hospital, the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, and the Horton General Hospital. NHS England data suggests that the Oxford University Hospitals trend fits that of the South East region overall, which has also seen a clear decrease in hospital admissions for Covid-19 since national lockdown started. 

A member of staff in the Oxford University Hospitals Trust told Cherwell: “I started working in the Covid-19 wards in January 2021, where all of the beds were full, and as soon as a patient was sent home or elsewhere, it was quickly filled again. In recent weeks this has not been the case. Although there is still a large [number] of very sick patients, there are empty beds that are not being filled. One of the two Covid wards I was working on has shut as we no longer have a need for it.”

“At the beginning of January all of the beds were full and all of our patients [were testing] positive for Covid. Now there are empty beds and patients who are no longer testing positive for Covid, but [are] still suffering from its effects. I have spoken with many of my colleagues and they would agree that there has been a reduction in Covid-19 admissions recently. The past few weeks have been much less busy than they were previously.”

In Oxfordshire, over 65s and people aged 16-65 with underlying health conditions are now being invited to get vaccinated, alongside other groups such as adult carers. Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health, said:

“It’s great news that the first dose of the vaccine has been given to so many people in such a short space of time. However, there is still a long way to go in the vaccination programme and we are keen that those who have now been inoculated are aware that the benefits do not kick in until around three weeks after the jab has been administered.”

“The figures for the number of people with COVID-19 in Oxfordshire have declined again this week and our weekly rate in the county has now fallen to below 100 per 100,000 for the first time since early December, which is really good news.”

“However, the virus is still very active in the county. […] We’ve seen before what happens when we relax too soon. The virus makes a rapid comeback and we end up in a frustrating one-step-forward two-steps back routine. Let’s not go there in 2021. Let’s see how much further we can drive down the levels of COVID-19 in Oxfordshire before lockdown ends. The lower it is, the better for all of us in both the short-term and the long-term.”

Image Credit: Ceridwen. License: CC BY-SA 2.0.

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