Hospital prepares for up to 70 Covid patients in summer 'mini wave'

Chris Cobb, chief operating officer at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital. Pic: Archant

Chris Cobb, chief operating officer at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital. Pic: Archant - Credit: Archant

Plans have been put in place in the case of a "mini wave" of Covid-19 patients this summer, with Norfolk's largest hospital preparing for up to 70 patients during the summer.

Chris Cobb, chief operating officer of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said at a board meeting on Wednesday the hospital is currently looking after four Covid-19 patients. 

He told the board the trust was looking to contain Covid patients in one area to try and have minimal impact on the rest of the hospital so it could tackle a 68,000 waiting list. 

Mr Cobb said: "We are still planning for a scenario where we may have 67 inpatients by late July in the hospital. I think it would be negligent for us to assume given everything else that is happening in England that we are going to be bypassed completely throughout the summer.

"We are determined to protect the elective recovery plan to what will hopefully just a little mini wave not the thing that we saw from October through to February. We have robust plans for that. 

"At the moment we are still working in a world which for lots of people it will still feel there is still a lot of Covid impact. There is still two metre distancing, still air changes required between theatre operations, we have cleaning regimes, patients need to test and isolate. 

"We have good plans to get through the summer months." 

In a further Covid update, the hospital's vaccination hub is to be wound down after being one of the first 50 hubs set up by the government last December. 

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It has given out 61,000 vaccinations, including 98pc of NNUH staff, at the Aylsham Suite, a medical day unit.

Of those 31,441 have been first doses, and another 29,989 are second doses. 

Mr Cobb said the hub should close on June 6 and will be shut unless required to offer booster vaccinations in autumn. 

Chief executive Sam Higginson said visitor restrictions will remain "relatively strict" until the hospital knew more around any further easing measures on June 21.

He said: "At this point we want to err on the side of caution as we move forward."