Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire hospitals trust “prepared for May surge”

The boss of Lincolnshire’s hospitals says the trust is prepared for a potential surge in coronavirus cases in the first week of May.

Chief executive of United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust Andrew Morgan said the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the county was “still lower than many parts of the country”.

Central Lincolnshire has 585 confirmed cases to date and ULHT has recorded 83 COVID-19 deaths.

Across Greater Lincolnshire, including the north of the county, there were 13 deaths in the last 24 hours, the biggest daily spike so far.

However, Mr Morgan also confirmed 138 patients had now been discharged from hospitals in the county.

“We do have a lot of capacity available within the hospital,” said Mr Morgan.

“Our modelling work would suggest that if there is going to be a surge, it could be in the first week or so of May and our plans are set up to cope with that.”

He said an expected surge at Easter time would have fitted better with the national profile, however, said the county appeared to be “tracking a bit behind the rest of the country” when it came to case numbers.

“National modelling seems to suggest the height of the peak is going to be lower than people expected but it might go on a bit longer,” he said.

Mr Morgan was confident the hospitals would be able to cope due to a number of factors:

  • The total empty hospital beds now sits at 465, around half the county’s capacity
  • ICU has been “nowhere near capacity in the past two weeks,” according to Mr Morgan
  • Modelling for the surge predicts it will need just 50 of its 64 ventilated ICU beds at the top of any surge
  • He is confident that the trust has at least 2-3 days worth of PPE stock in line with national guidance, though bosses were keeping an eye on FFP3 mask levels – those for more high risk areas

Around 600 staff are currently in isolation or working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, with an average of 1,000 staff not in work at any one time.

However, testing has been taking place and Mr Morgan said it was a case of staff returning to work as others left or began working from home over time rather than a cumulative impact.

“Our position is not worsening on who’s not around because of Covid-19 self-isolation so I think we’ve reached a plateau figure,” he said.

Mr Morgan said he had tried to reassure staff that the trust had enough PPE by sharing with them a live video showing staff the stocks.

He again thanked staff and public for the work they were doing and actions taken against the coronavirus epidemic.

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