More than 70% of Covid patients in Nottingham hospitals unvaccinated as military drafted in for support

By Joseph Locker

The military has been drafted in once again to assist NHS staff working at Nottingham's hospitals amid significant pressures.

Public health officials revealed the true extent of the pandemic as Omicron sweeps the city and county during a media briefing on Friday, January 7.

In Nottingham the infection rate sits at more than 1,600 cases per 100,000 people, rising to 1,800 across wider Nottinghamshire, and it is anticipated this will only continue to rise throughout the rest of the month.

The number of people testing positive when they get a PCR test is 40% and health officials made a point of emphasising this is "really high".

Omicron, the new variant which originated in South Africa, has been the main cause of the rapid increase in case numbers over the festive period.

While it has been reported it causes a milder disease than other variants, a public health official in the city warned this is simply not the case.

Lucy Hubber, the city's director of public health, said: "That's a really rapid increase from where we were a month ago.

"We've heard quite a lot in the media about Omicron being a mild disease. I'm not sure I would agree with that.

"What I would say is vaccination has meant that what we are seeing is Omicron is not as severe for people who are vaccinated.

"But it does not mean to say Covid is now a mild disease."

Amanda Sullivan, the accountable officer for the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG, said there were 443 people with Covid in hospital as of January 4.

This is higher than the Spring and Autumn peaks last year and is nearing the levels seen at the beginning of 2021.

She says a total of 25 people died in the week to January 4, 2022.

By January of last year 500 people had died as a result of Covid and a vigil was held to mark such a tragic milestone at the time.

In the first week of January the same year 53 people died in the city's hospitals.

It is anticipated hospitalisations will continue to rise throughout January and people have been urged to get vaccinated and boosted.

"The numbers are continuing to rise and we do anticipate they will continue to rise," she said.

"This is really important because 74% of patients with coronavirus in our intensive care units at Nottingham University Hospitals are unvaccinated.

"Omicron is as serious as Delta if you are unvaccinated. It is only more mild if you have some immune protection."

Although the number of patients in critical care is constantly fluctuating, it usually remains above 10 and reached 18 on Thursday.

Due to around 10% or more of all NHS staff members isolating due to Covid, the military has been drafted in for support.

This has been done on various occasions since the beginning of the pandemic.

So far a critical emergency, as has been seen elsewhere in the country, has not been declared.

Ms Sullivan added: "We have had quite a bit of help from the military throughout the pandemic, helping with our vaccination sites and working with the ambulance service as well. We are continuing to work with the military and like all parts of the country we have had support from the military.

"It has been absolutely brilliant working with the military and they have been incredibly responsive and helped the overall effort."

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