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  • Richard Cree

Normal Service will be Resumed Shortly

Updated: Apr 26

Saturday 25th April 2020

COVID Figures for 24th April

UK Hospital Deaths 684 / Total 19,506

James Cook Hospital – Total deaths – 166

James Cook Critical Care COVID cases – 11 / 7 ventilated

James Cook Critical Care non-COVID cases – 14 / 7 ventilated

Nicky is at work today but I’ve got the day off. It was a glorious day and my son and I went out for a bike ride over the top of the moors (following Government guidelines of course).

There were a lot of people out and about, including a few families who had got together for a picnic at Sheepwash. I’ve also noticed a lot more people out and about and a lot more cars on the roads on my way back and forth from work in the last few days.

I was interested to read a report today about the number of deer that have been killed on the roads in the last couple of days. Obviously, the lack of car journeys over the past month has made the roads a safer place for God’s Little Creatures. They subsequently appear to have lost their fear of roads and vehicles. I can certainly testify to the increased lemming-like behaviour of North Yorkshire’s sheep when up on the moors and every one of my cycle commutes in and out of work seems to involve a close encounter with a squirrel, goose, deer or other critter. It’s worse after dark when I’m riding home; there are squadrons of kamikaze rabbits attempting to hurl themselves under my bike wheels.

At the hospital there are also signs that people are perhaps less ‘socially distant’ than they have been. Patients can now be seen outside the hospital in their dressing gowns, smoking again.

Today Nicky and the team have had to deal with a number of ‘business as usual’ cases. We have now reached the point that our number of non-COVID critical care patients is greater than the number of COVID patients. I will add this figure to the daily data at the beginning of each post. There is talk that the projected ‘curve’ of new cases is flattening and that we are past the initial peak that was predicted.

The first case was an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest caused almost certainly by a recreational drug overdose. The patient did not survive. Then there was a stabbing, although fortunately their injuries were not as bad as they had initially appeared. There was another overdose although this time it was deliberate and involved prescription medication.

One patient had worsening heart failure and another had acute liver failure secondary to alcohol. The drug and alcohol-related theme continued later with a patient who was admitted with pancreatitis.

The final patient that was admitted had an altered level of consciousness and may have encephalitis, a viral infection of the brain. This is unlikely to be related to coronavirus, but rather a ‘regular’ virus such as the varicella virus that causes chicken pox or measles, mumps or rubella. Rarely it is due to tick disease or weird and wonderful tropical diseases. The most common cause though is the herpes simplex virus. There is one form of the herpes virus that causes cold sores and is prevalent in a significant proportion of the population. It can reactivate and sometimes cause encephalitis. The second form of the virus is the rarer one that gives you ‘problems downstairs’ and mercifully is unlikely to cause encephalitis. For more information you can Google it but make sure you don’t click on ‘images’…

Of all these patients, perhaps only one of them was infected with coronavirus. It was a refreshing change to see something different to coronavirus pneumonitis.

Is this a sign that things are getting better? It’s too early to say. Over the next few weeks we may see a continued decrease in coronavirus cases or we may see a resurgence if people become lackadaisical about lockdown, or if the lockdown is partially lifted.

Time will tell.

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