Doncaster's 'rapid rise' in Covid-19 rates declared a 'continuity major incident'

Health bosses across Doncaster are concerned around the ‘rapid rise’ in Covid-19 cases as staff absences in hospital and outbreaks in borough care homes continue to put pressure on services.

Monday, 10th January 2022, 2:27 pm

Health providers, which include the borough’s hospitals, mental health trusts and the council, are reporting services across the board are seeing ‘real pressure on their operations’ due to the ‘sharp increase’ in the number of patients with Covid-19 in hospital but also staff absences.

Community transmission of Covid-19 is currently the highest it has ever been with the current rate at 1993.1 (covering 26 December-1 January). The over 60s rate in Doncaster is currently 1,199, this has increased ten-fold in the past three weeks.

Hospital occupancy modelling is also predicting a ‘significant increase’ of patient numbers over the next few weeks.

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Some frontline health and care services are reporting absence rates as high as 50 per cent and currently 75 per cent of Doncaster care homes are in an outbreak and are closed to new admissions.

These challenges across the region has led to the South Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum declaring a business continuity major incident and now Doncaster’s Tactical Coordination Group has taken the decision to declare a local business continuity major incident.

Dr Rupert Suckling, Doncaster’s director of public health and speaking on behalf of all the partner organisations, said: “The transmission of Covid-19 in Doncaster is currently soaring and these are rates we have not seen anything like at any other point in the pandemic.

“We do not see this pattern changing in the immediate future, for example we will not see the impact of schools going back in our data for a couple more weeks so that is something we will be keeping a close eye on.

“It does appear that the Omicron variant is less severe, and we are seeing less people in ITU than in previous waves which is encouraging but we do find ourselves in a major incident and still seeing a significant number of people unwell with Covid-19 and ending up in hospital. Combined with a high rate of staff absence this causes a real challenge to our NHS partners and our health and care services are now increasingly under pressure.

“We are also aware that staff absences are causing a problem for businesses and their operations which does have a knock-on effect on the local economy.

It is important we have a rounded view on why it is important we keep the virus under control as much as we can and do whatever we can to reduce community transmission by taking appropriate steps to keep as safe as we can such as wearing face coverings indoors, having our vaccinations and testing regularly as well as sticking to the self-isolation guidance.

“We appreciate how tired people are of the situation we are in, particularly with us coming up to two years since the pandemic began, and that it can be hard to keep on top of changing guidance, but we need everyone to continue to work together to keep themselves and loves ones safe, particularly now when our rates are so high.”