Covid-related hospital deaths in Devon and Cornwall rising at fastest rate

But read the explanation and add a new technical term to the lexicon: decompress. – Owl 

Daniel Clark www.devonlive.com

Covid-19 related deaths in Devon and Cornwall’s hospital have risen at the fastest rate since the beginning of the pandemic, new NHS England figures reveal.

A total of 706 people have died in hospital in the two counties since March 17 within 28 days of a positive death, as of January 25.

By date of death, the 700th fatality was recorded on January 23, just 12 days after the 600th death occurred on January 11.

The 12 days is the fastest period over the two counties whereby 100 new deaths have occurred, with the period between 100 and 200 deaths in April being 17 days.

However back in the spring fewer people were being tested for Covid-19 and therefore the figures may be an underestimate for that period, and in the most recent weeks, patients from elsewhere in the country have been transferred into Devon’s hospitals due to the spare capacity that they have.

The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, as well as Torbay Hospital and Derriford Hospital, have taken in patients from both within the South West, and from trusts elsewhere in the country, mainly in the South East.

Board papers ahead of an RDE Trust board meeting on Wednesday confirm that during the first fortnight in January, the trust has also been supporting national efforts to decompress trusts from further afield struggling with extreme demand for critical care beds due to the pandemic, and at the latest count on January 19, six of the 12 Covid patients in ITU were out-of-area patients.

They add: “The current clinical capacity at Nightingale Exeter has been able to support mutual aid requests from outside Devon and Cornwall. These requests have been coordinated by the system medical and CEO group to assess the appropriate system priorities and management of the Covid response, and have been implemented by clinical and managerial leaders from across the system.”

And although ONS figures only run up the week ending January 8, deaths for Devon and Cornwall were at around half the level recorded in the first peak. The figures though have not yet taken into account this latest surge in deaths and therefore how many of them are from people within the two counties and how many from elsewhere is not yet known.

The first death in one of Devon and Cornwall’s hospitals by date of death occurred on March 17, with the 100th on April 8, 200th on April 25, 300th on October 24, 400th on November 27, 500th on December 19, 600th on January 11 and the 700th on January 23.

Of the deaths, 220 have occurred at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, with 166 at Derriford Hospital, 121 at Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust, 85 at Torbay Hospital, 71 at North Devon District Hospital, 39 in Cornish Partnership Foundation hospitals, three at Mount Gould Hospital, and one at Tavistock Hospital.