The number of hospital patients in Lincolnshire with COVID-19 is almost double the peak of the first wave of the pandemic, despite reduced numbers this week.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust currently has 183 COVID-positive patients in its hospitals, with 14 receiving treatment in intensive care units.
NHS figures released on Friday reported another 10 patients had died in ULHT facilities recently, with one further reported at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals Trust.
A trust spokesperson said: “Although overall we have seen slightly reduced numbers of COVID patients across the trust over the Christmas period, they are almost twice what they were at the peak of wave 1.
“Those patients in our hospitals are sicker and needing higher levels of care.
“In common with other hospitals both regionally and nationally we have had abnormally large numbers of ambulance attendances in recent days for this time of year.”
They added that although the tier 4 advice was to stay at home, patients were still advised to call NHS 111 if they became unwell for clinical advice and assessment, or 999 in an emergency.
Nationally, hospital bosses say the next few weeks will be “nail-bitingly difficult” for the NHS.
Saffron Cordery, of NHS Providers, which represents England’s hospital trusts, said a “challenging situation” would be created by staff absences and the new COVID-19 variants.
East Midlands Ambulance Service bosses said yesterday that crews were expecting a surge in demand over New Year and urged people to drink sensibly and take care in order to reduce pressure.
Dr Leon Roberts, EMAS medical director, told the BBC: “If it’s a slip, a trip, a fall, a heart attack — we want to be there for you […].
“What we don’t want to be doing is chasing around people at home who have drunk to excess, in small villages in rural locations which stretches our resources.”