• Richard Cree

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Thursday 14th May 2020

Figures for 13th May

UK COVID Deaths 494 / Total 33,186

James Cook Hospital – Total COVID deaths – 214

All COVID cases within South Tees Hospitals Trust – 57

James Cook Critical Care COVID cases – 14 (7 ventilated)

James Cook Critical Care non-COVID cases – 36 (15 ventilated)

I’ve had the day off today and indulged in my first ‘unlimited exercise’ bike ride now that the lockdown rules have changed. I’m an enthusiastic cyclist but have curtailed my riding over the past two months whilst we’ve been in lockdown. I must confess that I haven’t always stuck to the ‘1 hour’ rule but have not been riding for much more than two hours at a time. Today I went out for a guilt-free, five hour ride on my road bike and now am exhausted. I should know that lots of short, fast rides are no substitute for big days out in the Moors, but I can be quite self-deluded when it comes to my fitness.

As well as being deconditioned I am also heavier. Along with nearly everyone I have been eating more, both at home and work and it was clearly noticeable out on the bike today when climbing the steeper hills. I have promised myself that I will try and eat less over the next few weeks, starting right after tonight’s monster take-away. All that aside, I had a great ride today. It was good to clear my head and cycling is more enjoyable at the moment due to the lack of traffic.

Nicky was working again last night. Things remain relatively calm with only one suspected COVID patient being admitted in the last 24 hours. Continuing yesterday’s theme, we admitted another intentional overdose patient amongst a number of COVID negative patients with all sorts of ‘usual’ Intensive Care problems.

Interestingly, I was taking a look at the numbers of COVID patients throughout our Criticial Care Network. This is the area north of Leeds up to the border with Scotland. It would appear that the numbers of COVID patients in Intensive Care Units throughout the region varies enormously.

For example, over the last few days, Newcastle has only a handful of such patients. Gateshead, Sunderland and Northumbria have even fewer. The only area in the north of the region with any significant number of cases is South Tyneside. North Tees and Durham Hospital have a reasonable number of patients but our hospital, James Cook, has the highest number of COVID patients in the region by a country mile.

Those ICU’s with clusters of cases tend to be in the region’s areas of greatest social and economic deprivation. As I have pointed out before, Middlesbrough has one of the highest infection rates in the country, which in turn will lead to one of the highest death rates in the country.

Despite this, the numbers of COVID patients continue to fall. We will have to wait and see whether this alleged increased viral transmission rate results in increased hospital admissions (and deaths) in another week or so.

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