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  • Richard Cree

Day of Rest

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

Saturday March 28th 2020


COVID Figures for 27 March

UK Deaths 260 / Total 759


A quieter day for Nicky and I today: we are both off work together. I am available to attend if the workload demands it but as things stand, there's a pretty good chance we can spend the day together and the kids are looking forward to having us both around.


My son who is 12 couldn't sleep last night for worrying about the virus. The children are normally a pretty chilled out bunch and it's easy to forget the impact that this pandemic is having on them. We tend to forget the cumulative effect of our sometimes blasé discussions at home about sick patients, wearing protective gear, lack of hospital capacity and increasing death rates. We shall have to be more careful.

Lots of online discussion this morning amongst my cycling friends regarding social isolation and exercise. Last weekend saw a lot of irresponsible behaviour amongst groups of cyclists who were still riding close together and filling up the outdoor spaces around cafes mid-ride. Hopefully we won't see any more of that. It appears that most people are on-board with the concept of keeping exercise local and won't do daft things like driving into the North York Moors en masse for exercise.


Yesterday I went for a mountain bike ride. I rode 15 miles in total from the house into the Moors. It was a glorious afternoon and such rides are very good for me at the moment. I am lucky to live where I do. I have never seen the Moors so quiet and it was only riding through the village that I came within 100m of anyone else. I am hopeful that people will remain sensible and we will avoid draconian rules enforcing everyone to stay within a certain distance from home.


I strongly suspect that cycling and whisky will be the two things that will keep me sane during what's coming. Well, that and the loving arms of my family, I hasten to add, just in case Nicky is reading this.


I have taken an hour or so this morning to catch up with some email correspondence. Of note is the report of a briefing to the Trust's Clinical Directors regarding the timing of the peak part of the surge. Apparently, the powers-that-be have suggested that this will be just in time to make a nice Easter present.


The best guess is that in 10 days time we will have 10 times as many COVID patients in the hospital as we do now. In 20 days time that number will have risen to 20 times. We should then see the peak start to diminish after two weeks to be replaced by a sustained but 'bearable' number of cases. We are still fortunate in that we are lagging behind the busier parts of the country.


We had already planned to increase our ICU ventilated bed capacity to 75 (it is normally 16) but now are being asked to increase it further to 104. We will have to hope that this may be enough. There is a good chance it won't be.


Most ICUs in the Northern Critical Care Network (above Leeds and below Scotland) will not be able to increase their capacity beyond 4x their normal. I'm not sure we will be able to either. We will simply run out of staff, nurses in particular. We are training retired nurses and nurses from other parts of the hospital in preparation. I fear it will not be enough.


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