Covid: Cwm Taf leads dramatic rise in Wales hospital cases

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Intensive care unitImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
There has been a 90% rise in Covid-19 patients in intensive care in the past week

Details of a 60% rise in both hospital admissions and patients in beds with Covid-19 in Wales over the past week are shown in latest official figures.

It is being led by a dramatic rise in coronavirus patients in the Cwm Taf Morgannwg area, according to NHS Wales.

There were 229 Covid-19 patients in the health board's hospitals, the highest numbers since the end of May.

Meanwhile, two more deaths were confirmed due to an outbreak inside Royal Glamorgan Hospital.

It takes the total of deaths to 10 due to infections caught inside the hospital near Llantrisant, Rhondda Cynon Taf. The number of linked cases has now risen to 89, after 60 were reported on Wednesday.

Cwm Taf Morgannwg health board also said it now had 22 confirmed cases of Covid-19 at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil.

"We have one ward closed and strict infection prevention and control procedures are being followed", said a spokesman. "We have also increased our testing in the hospital."

Director of public health Dr Kelechi Nnoaham added: "The number of cases at Prince Charles Hospital are unlinked to the cases at Royal Glamorgan Hospital.

"Temporary restrictions to services at the Royal Glamorgan hospital will remain in place until we are absolutely sure that we have contained the spread of the virus on the site.

"The opening of our field hospital next week will create capacity at the hospital for patients who need the most specialist care, and enable others to relocate to a Covid-free setting."

Covid-19 hospitalisations. Confirmed, suspected and recovering cases by day.  Up to 29 September.

There were 550 Covid patients in hospital beds in Wales on Tuesday, although this is 40% of the levels at the pandemic's peak.

NHS Wales chief executive Dr Andrew Goodall outlined the rises to Senedd members on Wednesday, but the weekly figures give further detail.

The 229 Cwm Taf Morgannwg patients make up 41% of all Covid-19 hospital patients across Wales.

They also make up a third of all hospital admissions, while neighbouring Aneurin Bevan is providing another fifth.

Covid-19 patients in critical care. Confirmed and suspected cases on invasive ventilation or critical care in Wales.  .

The figures also show:

  • A total of 34 people were being treated on invasive ventilated beds, including in critical care, for confirmed or suspected coronavirus on 29 September. This is nearly twice as many as the week before and the highest figure since mid-June
  • Fifteen of these were in the Cwm Taf Morgannwg health board and seven in Aneurin Bevan, two of the main hotspot areas for infections over recent weeks
  • The seven-day average in total daily admissions to hospitals of confirmed and suspected Covid-19 cases is currently 73 - a 60% rise on the week before
  • Of the 550 patients in hospital - 191 were confirmed Covid-19 patients - the highest figure since early May. There were 312 patients with suspected Covid and 47 who were recovering from the virus

During a period when Covid-19 is resurging - obviously there's a lot of focus on the rising numbers of cases.

But case rates fluctuate depending on how much testing is happening and where.

Arguably, a more accurate picture of the situation comes from the data on how many people are in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19.

This measure often lags behind the rising number of cases as it takes a period of time, usually from when someone gets exposed to developing symptoms and then becoming ill.

Although it's worth remembering not everybody infected will get ill. But the picture that emerges from today's figures is that the pressure on the NHS is building yet again, with the numbers of patients with coronavirus in hospital wards and in intensive care rising sharply - and now at their highest levels since June.

It's also striking the proportion of all Covid-19 patients in Welsh hospitals who are from the Cwm Taf Morgannwg health board area.

This reflects the high rates in communities, like Rhondda Cynon Taf, and the serious outbreak at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital.