Liverpool’s intensive care units are more than 90% full, with the city soon expected to reach levels of bed occupancy seen during the first wave of Covid-19, a city council leader has said.
Liverpool City Region is the only part of England under the toughest Tier 3 restrictions, with the closure of pubs and bars and bans on socialising.
Paul Brant, cabinet member for adult health and social care at Liverpool City Council, said intensive care capacity in the city was over 90% full, with Covid-19 patients making up an increasing proportion of patients.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Our intensive, critical care beds are filling up very fast.
“The most recent figures I’ve seen suggest they are over 90% full and our acute hospital trusts have occupancy levels of Covid-positive patients of over 250.
“At the current rate of increase, we would expect Liverpool to surpass the peak of the first wave probably within the next seven to 10 days.”
Addressing the intensive care situation, he added: “They are not all Covid patients, I should say, but they are running very full and they are running with an increasing number of people who are Covid-positive.
“It has become clear that the intensity of the demand on hospital services here in Liverpool is crowding out anything other than dealing with Covid.”
On Tuesday, other hospitals in the UK announced they were having to stop routine operations to deal with Covid-19 patients.
University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust said it was temporarily pausing non-critical planned surgery at Derriford Hospital, although day case procedures are still going ahead.
Victoria Eaton, Leeds director of public health, said hospitals in the city were “very close” to having to strip back non-Covid services, and areas may struggle for staff to fill Nightingale hospitals put on standby.
Swansea Bay University Health Board said all routine planned cardiac surgery at Morriston Hospital has been temporarily suspended following a localised outbreak of the virus.
Ten patients and five staff have tested positive over the last few days, most within cardiac services, it added.
In Northern Ireland, Belfast Health Trust has cancelled all elective procedures this week to cope with a rise of Covid-19 cases being admitted to hospitals.
On Monday, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Steve Warburton told staff in a memo that it had reached a “critical point”.
He said the trust was scaling back planned procedures, adding it was “taking a phased approach to reducing our elective programme, while exploring options with other providers to maintain some of this work in alternative locations”.