James Cook Hospital Covid ward stepped down as cases fall

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James Cook University Hospital has treated more than 4,000 Covid patients over the past year

Health bosses have "stepped down" a Covid-19 intensive care unit at a Teesside hospital as the number of coronavirus patients continues to fall.

The South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust said clinicians at Middlesbrough's James Cook Hospital were currently treating 14 patients with Covid-19.

This has almost halved since the start of April, and down from 238 in January.

The hospital is now turning its attention to those whose care has been disrupted by the pandemic.

NHS data shows that rates remain steady at between 10 and 35 cases per 100,000 people across Teesside's council areas, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

'Rely on us'

A spokesman for the South Tees trust said: "The reduction in the number of very poorly patients with Covid has meant that our critical care colleagues have been able to step-down our Covid intensive care unit.

"Our clinicians have provided care for more than 4,000 patients with Covid over the course of the last year."

The trust said that had brought an "inevitable impact" on other areas, but that 23,000 operations and 14,500 planned surgeries had still taken place.

"The next big area which our doctors and nurses are focusing on is addressing the needs of anybody whose non-urgent care has been disrupted by the pandemic," the spokesman said.

"This is so important, not just for our communities in Teesside and North Yorkshire, but for patients across the North East and beyond who rely on us as a major cancer, tertiary, and regional trauma centre."

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