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COVID-19: Rapid increase in Oxfordshire hospital admissions

Local hospitals are said to be fuller than they were during the first wave of the pandemic.

Residents in Oxfordshire are being urged to follow the lockdown guidelines as numbers of COVID cases rise sharply in the community.

NHS staff are concerned that the number of patients being admitted to hospital with the virus is rapidly increasing.

Sam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "As people will be aware, the NHS is currently experiencing huge challenges in our hospitals as we see increasing numbers of patients with COVID-19.

"Our hospitals are fuller than they were in March and April last year.  We are doing all that we can to care for our patients with COVID but, if people do not stick to the national lockdown rules, we are likely to see cases rise even more and the pressure on our hospitals and our staff will increase further. 

"There is no better way to support your NHS than to follow lockdown rules.  We know it can be difficult and that people are already fatigued after what was a challenging year, but it is more important than ever that everyone plays their part."

Oxfordshire's Director for Public Health describe the increasing numbers of people with COVID-19 as a 'serious warning.'

Latest stats show there were 370 new cases of coronavirus in Oxfordshire yesterday (11/01) taking the county's total to over 23,000.

The current weekly rate per 100,000 people is 566.5.

Ansaf Azhar, said: "The increasing numbers of people with COVID-19 is a serious warning that we need to be extra vigilant. I would urge people to take personal responsibility as individuals and families throughout the coming weeks to give ourselves a chance of containing the virus and clearing a path for the vaccine.
"I would urge everyone to protect themselves, the communities in which they live and therefore the NHS as we progress through the early days of 2021."

Mr Azhar's message to follow the rules is echoed by GP's in Oxfordshire in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

It comes after England's National Medical Director revealed yesterday (11/01) that there are now 13-thousand more people with coronavirus in hospital than there were on Christmas Day.

Professor Stephen Powis says since the start of the year the number of Covid-19 patients has already gone up by a third.

Ed Capo-Bianco, GP and Urgent Care lead at Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: "We need you to help us so that we can help you by following the lockdown rules. GP practices are now delivering COVID vaccinations to those aged over 80 years old, care home residents and health and social care staff.

"We are working hard to be able to give as many people as possible their vaccine as quickly as possible as well as running/booking our regular clinics for patients. For this reason, please do consider whether you really need to contact your GP, your hospital team, or 111. There are other options available to advise and treat you.

"Pharmacists can help, and NHS 111 is also available online. The NHS is open for you but we must ask everyone to act as responsibly and sensibly as possible in contacting health and social care over the coming weeks."

David Dean, Chief Executive Officer at Thames Valley Local Pharmaceutical Committee, said: "Pharmacists are qualified health professionals and are trained in managing minor illness, including coughs, colds, tummy troubles, and teething, as well as aches and pains. We should be your best first port of call for minor health concerns.  Please don't wait until it gets worse, we are here to help."

Pete McGrane, Clinical Director of Community Services at Oxford Health, said: "Help and support is still available for people, but we all need to make sure we are choosing the right services.

"Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) can help you with many different types of injuries, such as deep cuts, eye injuries, broken bones, severe sprains, minor head injury, minor burns and scalds. Many people go to Accident and Emergency departments when they could be treated just as well and probably quicker at a Minor Injuries Unit.

"We also know that people need support with their mental health at this difficult time.  If you or someone you know need help, please contact our 24 hour helpline for advice."

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