Category: Health

This article by Simon Kolstoe, Reader in Bioethics and University Ethics Advisor, University of Portsmouth provides useful advice after all restrictions on movement, mask wearing and isolation ended. It first appeared on The Conversation. The most recent data show 17 new cases of Covid-19 detected each day in Ludlow.   ilze kalve/Shutterstock   We are all tired of COVID. But even though the news has moved on to other concerning geopolitical issues, it is a fact that COVID is still very much with us. Vaccines have certainly helped drive down its worst effects, but the disease is here to stay, and we must learn to live with it. So what should you do now if you get COVID? Anecdotally, many people seem to be ignoring the virus and carrying on regardless. This is perhaps not surprising given the end of self-isolation requirements in England, with Wales set to lift them very soon too. The message seems to be that COVID is no longer so important. But even as the rules do relax, living with COVID must not mean ignoring it. Here are five things that COVID has shown that we need to do, especially as cases are yet again increasing…

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Covid Watch 178: Here we go again – cases are rising quickly

It will not be news to many people that Covid-19 infections are once again soaring. This is due to a new variant of Omicron (Ba.2), which is even more infectious than the original variant (BA.1). In Shropshire, the current estimated infection rate is estimated to be around 1,065 infections per 100,000 people, higher than the delta phase last year but lower than the peak of 1,814 infections per 100,000 people in early January. The Office of National Statistics estimates that 3,485,700 people in England had Covid-19 in the week to 17 March (6.4% of population). In Ludlow, the latest estimated rate of infection to 20 March was 967 per 100,000 people, not far below the county rate. More than 40,000 people in Shropshire take a Covid test each week. I am concerned that this will fall with the government restricting the availability of lateral flow tests. These must be purchased after the end of this month. If testing reduces, how are we going to identify the next surge in cases and the potential impact on health services and the economy.

Ambulance handover delays at Shropshire’s A&Es are a national disgrace – an inquiry is needed

Significant delays in handovers from ambulances to A&E departments continue at Shropshire’s two acute hospitals. This winter, half of ambulances arriving at the two A&Es experienced handover delays of 30 minutes. This much worse than the experience across England, where one fifth of ambulance handovers were delayed by 30 minutes or more over the same period. The national target is 15 minutes. Ambulances that are stuck in the A&E queues are not available to answer new 999 calls. It is unacceptable that a fifth of ambulances are experiencing long handover delays in England. The handover delays at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princes Royal Hospital (SaTH) are a disgrace. This winter, half of ambulances arriving at SaTH have suffered handover delays of 30 minutes or more (49% – the fifth worst performance in England). More than a quarter of ambulances have experienced delays of 60 minutes or more (27% – the sixth worst performance in England).

Petition on Ludlow Ambulance hub receives unanimous support from Shropshire Councillors

On Thursday, Shropshire Council debated a petition from Ludlow resident Darren Childs. The petition requests that the Council support our campaign in returning an ambulance hub back in Ludlow, South Shropshire or the return of local rapid response vehicles who can be on call or based at local areas like Ludlow hospital, GP surgery, fire station, to attend until an ambulance arrives. Councillors debated the petition for longer than the allocated time of 15 minutes and concluded by unanimously supporting it. Key points made by councillors during the discussion were: All the rural ambulance hubs should be reinstated Scrutiny had failed to address the problem and even had failed to meet A select committee should be set up by the council to review the ambulance crisis Ambulance performance should be measured by postcode The council should declare that it has no confidence in the management of the local NHS. A full transcript of the debate is below.

Covid Watch 176: Omicron cases at last fall locally and nationally after double peaks in January

The good news is that infection rates have been falling rapidly across Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. A surge in infections followed the arrival of the highly transmissible Omicron variant in December. A second lower surge occurred in early January after the schools returned. In the week to 5 February, an estimated 99.7% of Covid-19 cases in Shropshire were one of the three Omicron variants.  Infection rates in Shropshire have been plummeting since the end of January and are getting closer to the England average. In England, the current rate of infections over the last seven days is 425 per 100,000 people. In Shropshire, the rate is 460 and in Telford & Wrekin 550. The latest data for Ludlow town shows an infection rate of around 795 in the week to 6 February, well down from the infection rate of 1,200 a week earlier. In less cheerful news, 44 people with Covid-19 have died in the Royal Shrewsbury and Princes Royal Hospitals this year, bring the total for the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust to 705 deaths during the pandemic.

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