COVID infection rates falling in east London

Another 250 COVID patients have died in east London hospitals, but infection rates are falling.

A total of 149 patients with COVID-19 died in King George Hospital in Ilford, Queen’s Hospital in Romford, Whipps Cross in Leytonstone and four other east London hospitals last week.

From January 18 to 24, 89 COVID patients died in Whipps Cross and the four other hospitals run by Barts Health NHS Trust, compared to 88 during the previous week.

At King George Hospital and Queen’s Hospital, run by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), 60 people died, down from 65 the week before.

In Waltham Forest, Redbridge and Havering, infection rates have fallen since the latest lockdown was introduced, returning to mid-December levels.

NHS leaders have previously explained it may take a few weeks for a drop in infections to result in fewer deaths in hospital, given the time between catching the virus and serious symptoms developing.

As of January 23, more than 6 million UK residents have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine, with close to half a million having received both doses.

Waltham Forest NHS issued a public apology last week after accepting an unexpected extra delivery of vaccines, which led to crowds forming inside two vaccination sites.

The NHS in Redbridge cracked down on local doctors offering unused doses directly to elderly residents, saying the move was “done in good faith, but not NHS approved”.

The current lockdown is expected to last until at least mid-February and may well be extended.

MPs are currently calling on the Government to confirm its plan for reopening schools but have been told it is “too soon” to make this decision.

Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter