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  • Writer's pictureRichard Cree

And Relax….

Sunday 14th June 2020

Figures for 13th June

UK COVID Deaths 181 / Total 41,662

James Cook Hospital – Total COVID deaths – 248

All COVID cases within South Tees Hospitals Trust – 19

James Cook Critical Care COVID cases – 1 / 1 ventilated

James Cook Critical Care non-COVID cases – 36 / 21 ventilated

Nicky and I have been on-call over the past few nights. The numbers of our COVID-19 patients continue to gradually fall and we now only have one COVID-19 patient within Critical Care.

For the past few weeks we have been aware that other hospitals in the Northern region have being seeing fewer COVID patients than we have. Prior to the weekend there were only two such ventilated patients in and around the Newcastle area, whereas Teesside and its surrounding hospitals had five. There have been a number of regional hospitals who haven’t admitted a COVID-positive patient into their ICU for a few weeks. It seems it's finally our turn to take it a bit easier.

We have moved our single COVID patient into an isolation room on one of the regular units and have set about restoring the last COVID ICU back into a regular ICU. This involves emptying it of patients and staff, deep cleaning everything within it and hydrogen peroxide ‘fogging’ it before admitting new, non-COVID patients.

Once this has happened we will be very close to our original Critical Care ‘footprint’ – i.e. how things were back in mid-March before the pandemic hit us. We still have one patient on the Cardiac ICU but they are due to return to the fold any day now and we will be utilising the Paediatric ICU until the middle of next week.

I don’t think any of us thought that we would be near this position just a month ago and we are all very pleased that the workload continues to decrease. All of the staff are tired and the respite that the decline in cases has brought is most welcome. A lot of us need to spend some more time with our families and rest and recuperate.

That’s not to say that we are all breathing a collective sigh of relief and expecting things to remain quiet. We realise that an increase in COVID workload is likely but we are hoping that it will be more manageable than before. Contingency plans remain for us to re-expand our bed base once more should the need arise and having done it once, it will be quicker and easier a second time around.

I realise that the way I’m writing might give the impression that we are all taking it easy. It’s worth remembering that we are still left with the day-to-day Intensive Care workload which is usually busy enough, thank you very much. I guess it’s all relative though. It doubtless won’t be long before we’re back to complaining about the lack of beds and the numbers of ‘regular’ ICU patients that we’re seeing, but for now, we can all relax a little.

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8 Comments


Richard Cree
Richard Cree
Jun 15, 2020

Hi Martin. They put the wall back a few weeks ago when we went back to just one COVID unit. However, even though the two units are both ‘normal’ again they’ve decided to leave the wall up just in case we have to go backwards. They don’t want to give me the pleasure of destroying it again. Spoilsports!

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Richard Cree
Richard Cree
Jun 15, 2020

Hi Qasim. To be honest I’m just looking forward to not having to look after really sick COVID patients. Anything else is a bonus! Would love not to have to think about home-schooling the kids too!

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Martin
Jun 15, 2020

Having read, and thoroughly enjoyed, all your blogs I cannot help think that getting back to normal also means you’ve got a wall to rebuild, Richard!


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irommanjon
Jun 15, 2020

Thank you Richard for taking the time to comment. Your view is as I feared. What's surprising to me is how long it's taken to reach the present level of transmission given so many weeks since the lockdown started in its most restrictive format.

Jon

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qasimabaig10
Jun 15, 2020

Hi Richard,


As always you & the team at JCU are doing an amazing job and we owe you all a great debt of thanks in what has no doubt been a hard time for all especially you guys working in ICU. With the relaxation of restrictions in the coming weeks what are you most looking forward to?


Perhaps the return of football & Mighty Boro playing on Saturday?


Best,

Qasim

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