Hospital bosses say they are still caring for large numbers of patients with coronavirus, despite the drop in infections in the community.
North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, said its staff were dealing with numbers similar to the first wave of the pandemic.
Dr Rod Harpin, medical director at the trust said, “This is largely due to the length of time that it takes for the virus to run its course, and the fact that in this wave patients that do require hospital care tend to be sicker.
“Our intensive care units are still exceptionally busy.
“We have continued to run urgent and emergency services and we are starting to make plans for some routine services to resume next month.
“However our ability to do this depends on how quickly the number of patients with COVID-19 reduces. We all have a part to play in that reduction of community spread by following the advice during lockdown.
“Suspending our routine services was not a decision that was made lightly but it was necessary in order for us to be able to treat the volume of patients with COVID-19 who need our support.
“We have had to change how we work to care for coronavirus patients and staff from our routine services have been redeployed.
“While we do this, we can’t deliver routine services to you, your family and friends.”
The trust is also reminding the community that visiting to our inpatient units is temporarily suspended.
This includes the Cumberland Infirmary, West Cumberland Hospital and community hospitals.
However, there are some exceptions and they can be viewed on the trust’s website.
Dr Harpin added: “While we’ve had to make difficult decisions to postpone some services which are not clinically urgent, we continue to provide care to all patients who require urgent or emergency care.
“If you have been invited for an appointment, please attend as this means your case will have been assessed and we would like to see you.
“It’s important that you come to your appointment on your own, unless you need assistance, as we need to maintain social distancing in our waiting areas and assessment rooms.”
There has been one new coronavirus death recorded at the trust in the latest 24-hour period, official figures show.
NHS England figures show 411 people had died in hospital at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust as of 5pm yesterday.
That was an increase of one compared to Tuesday, when there were 410.
It means there have been 39 deaths in the past week, up from 21 the previous week.
The victims were among 11,735 deaths recorded across the North East and Yorkshire.