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  • Writer's pictureRichard Cree

Jubilee

Updated: Jun 10, 2022

9th June 2022


UK COVID Deaths –Daily average 80

Total UK COVID Deaths within 28 days – 177,977

Total UK Deaths with COVID-19 on the death certificate – 195,962 (up to 20 May)

James Cook Hospital – Total COVID deaths – 874

All COVID cases within South Tees Hospitals Trust – 75

James Cook Critical Care

COVID cases – 2 (0 ventilated)

Non-COVID cases – 44 (22 ventilated)


Last week saw four days of celebration to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. As well as honouring Her Majesty’s service, it was a chance for the nation to let its hair down. Huge crowds filled the Mall and gathered in front of Buckingham Palace, villages were bursting with bunting and you couldn’t get hold of a Union Jack for love nor money. As I watched the Queen make an appearance on the Palace balcony, I thought back to when she had addressed the nation right at the start of the pandemic. Her words had echoed those of Dame Vera Lynn as she reassured us that, once the the worst was over, “we will meet again.” She was right, of course, and for many the Jubilee weekend marked an unofficial end to the pandemic.


Quite what will constitute an official end of the pandemic isn’t clear. I presume it’s up to the World Health Organisation to decide when it's all over. However, here in the UK, the Omicron wave continues to recede. Cases have fallen sharply since the end of March and the number of new COVID-19 infections is the lowest it’s been since last summer. The number of patients who are being admitted to hospital following infection has also been steadily decreasing, as has the number of deaths caused by the virus.


Whilst there are a total of 75 patients at James Cook who have tested positive for COVID-19, only 20 of these are deemed to be still infectious and need to be isolated. The rest have all recovered, meaning they can be looked after on regular wards. The original ‘once COVID, always COVID’ policy that was implemented at the start of the pandemic is now redundant and regular testing is used to identify patients who are no longer infectious. They can then be transferred from a red, COVID ward, to an amber, COVID-free, one.


Meanwhile, the hospital continues to look more and more like it did before the pandemic. Outpatient clinics are full again, patient visiting has returned and facemasks are no longer being worn in some non-clinical areas. Fewer and fewer members of staff are absent due to COVID infections and, occasionally, a whole day can pass without COVID even being mentioned. Of course, it's not all good news; the Accident & Emergency Department is busier than it has ever been and ward beds remain hard to come by. Congestion is a worsening problem with the timely discharge of people from hospital to social care continuing to be a challenge.


Whilst the rest of the hospital has been getting busier, Intensive Care has been getting calmer. The last few days have seen us admit fewer patients and the lull in activity has surprised everyone. We’d become so used to being either busy, very busy or stupidly-busy that we had forgotten that things do quieten down every now and then, especially during the summer.


It makes a refreshing change not to start the day scrambling to find ICU beds for elective surgical cases or worry about whether there will be enough nurses turning up for the late shift. It’s nicer still to be able to see sick patients in A&E or on the wards and admit them to the ICU straight away. It’s a relief not to have to worry about discharging your patients in the middle of the night in order to make way for newer, sicker ones.


But don’t worry, there’s no danger of us getting used to this. Such oases of calm don’t tend to last very long. Inevitably, normal service will be resumed...

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12 commenti


skylineboy2002
13 giu 2022

what varient are we onto now? is it still omicron? how common is it to be reinfected? - i'm triple jabbed, mid 30s, and near enough to the day - i tested positive 6 months after the last. i was however in the killers gig at the riverside. which i suppose is high risk (33k people there apparently). i know some people have had extra jabs but for immune issues (not just clinically vulnerable rules as before), are there any indications of winter jabs as there is with flu?

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Richard Cree
Richard Cree
15 giu 2022
Risposta a

Hi Yes, it’s still Omicron although we are now onto variants BA.4 & BA.5 which are similar but more infectious than the original BA.1 variant that appeared at the end of last year. Please see my previous replies for the depressing news that current vaccines and/or infection with Omicron may provide very little protection against reinfection with Omicron. Existing vaccines do continue to protect against severe illness so it is likely that vaccination will be required regularly for the older and/or vulnerable population. We may get an Omicron-specific vaccine but if natural infection affords little protection against reinfection then vaccination will likely do the same. It may therefore not be worthwhile vaccinating younger people. We may be looking at a future…

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peter.nms
10 giu 2022

Hi Richard,


It's good to hear from you, thanks for the post.


Unfortunately I am reading that cases are now increasing. My housemates girlfriend has Covid and is staying here. She is a carer so can't work and won't get any pay either.


She is early 20s but definitely feels rough, cough, exhausted, all the usual Covid symptoms. PCR is positive as are lateral flow tests.


Myself and my housemate are both negative despite the close contact. I assumed I would get it again but maybe the January infection has protected me.


We are in June already, it will soon be winter and a depleted NHS will once again face an onslaught of flu, Covid and millions of patients who…


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peter.nms
28 giu 2022
Risposta a

Hi Richard,


I am very pleased to hear that Covid isn't as bad as it was in the first few waves, that is encouraging indeed.


Today's ONS deaths look more encouraging, fewer overall excess deaths albeit still 30% above the 5 year average for 'Death at Home' ... I assume that reflects a struggling ambulance service and NHS. I wonder how many people are dying as a result of missing out on non Covid care versus those who had Covid which resulted in death even a long time after initial infection.


Anyway, it's positive for the majority at the moment then. Compared to the dark days of 2k deaths a day, 350 a week is much better unless you are…


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jimsheardown
10 giu 2022

Richard, as always, thank you for your update. I hope the quiet times stay for a while for you and your staff. I was at JCUH for the five weekdays the week before last due to a fall on holiday and a fractured wrist. I had surgery last Monday and they pinned it and I was kept in overnight. (My only complaint is that it is a 60 plus mile round trip from home with no direct busses, and obviously I can't drive myself).

But the staff I dealt with were fantastic and quite helpful.

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Richard Cree
Richard Cree
15 giu 2022
Risposta a

Hi Jim Sorry to hear that and I hope you are healing well. I’ve broken my wrist a couple of times whilst cycling and it’s frustrating to be one-handed for a while. You’re right about the distances some of our patients have to travel if they live at the edge of the hospital’s catchment area. This is OK if you are having specialist input but not so good if you have to travel all that way for a routine service that had previously been provided at a more local hospital. Cheers, Richard

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