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Warrington’s health leaders are reminding people that the coronavirus pandemic is definitely not over as case numbers increase across the borough.
The number of COVID-19 positive inpatients at Warrington Hospital remains high, with 67 current inpatients, which is creating additional pressure on services.
There were over 1,700 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Warrington last week, which equates to a rate of over 800 per 100,000. This is considerably higher than we have seen recently and is unlikely to be the total figure, given people may not be testing as frequently since the lifting of restrictions.
Following the government’s Living with COVID-19 announcement and plans, Warrington’s health leaders are reiterating advice to keep residents and families safe, stressing that the pandemic is not over and we are still living with the virus.
Warrington Borough Council’s director of public health, Thara Raj, said: “Cases are going up and up in Warrington. COVID-19 is not just like catching a cold, a number of our residents have become very poorly very quickly and are taking a long time to recover.
“We know how to reduce transmission of the virus. Washing our hands, keeping our distance from others and meeting in well-ventilated places, wearing a face covering in crowded or enclosed public spaces, and self-isolating if you have symptoms – a high temperature, a new continuous cough, a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. Removal of free government testing at the end of this month means that these measures, together with vaccination, are vital to help bring case rates down.
“We need to do all we can to reduce the number of cases and to help to ease the pressure on our hospital and other health and social care services. The pandemic isn’t over and coronavirus hasn’t gone away. I know there are some people in our communities who continue to be anxious about getting out and about now that the restrictions have ended, so we should be kind to one another and do all we can to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.”
While the legal need to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19 has ended, as has the government’s self-isolation support payment, public health advice is that people who test positive should stay at home and self-isolate wherever possible.
Warrington Hospital is currently experiencing very high attendances at its Emergency Department and people are being urged to consider all possible alternatives.
In a joint statement, Simon Constable, Chief Executive of Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Dr Andrew Davies, Chief Clinical Officer for NHS Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Getting vaccinated remains the best form of defence against COVID-19 and we’d encourage anyone who hasn’t had their jab to come forward as soon as possible, it’s never too late. You can arrange your vaccination via the national booking service, responding to an invitation from the NHS, attending a local walk-in clinic, or via the Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals booking page.
“Like hospitals across the country, Warrington’s A&E department is extremely busy. We urge patients to look at alternatives such as the Urgent Treatment Centres in Widnes and Runcorn, NHS 111, community pharmacists, and their GPs. By choosing and using the right health services, patients can expect to be seen or treated more quickly, while keeping emergency services free for those patients with serious and life-threatening illnesses.
“Meanwhile we urge patients to continue to come forward as planned for treatment when they are invited for consultation, diagnostics or procedures.”
Please keep A&E free for those who need it most, and if you are experiencing an emergency, which means that it is critical or life-threatening, then call 999 for help.
Find out more about the options available in Warrington on Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s website. For information about current UTC and A&E waiting times, visit the hospital’s website.