Covid: York Hospital 'two weeks away from capacity'

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media captionThe BBC was given access to York Hospital's Covid-19 wards to meet staff and patients

A leading consultant has warned her hospital will be full within a fortnight due to an influx of coronavirus cases.

Kim Chandler said York Hospital was at its busiest since the start of the pandemic, with Covid-19 patient numbers rising from 107 to 179 in two weeks.

The trust, which also covers Scarborough Hospital, has had to postpone some planned operations.

"We open a ward and we fill it in a day," she added.

York has the highest current seven-day rate of the virus in North Yorkshire, with 658 cases per 100,000 people.

The figure, in the week to 9 January, is more than double the regional average.

image captionDr Chandler said staff at York Hospital had to be both a medic and a relative to patients unable to see their families

Lead Covid-19 consultant Dr Chandler said: "Christmas weekend we had a handful of patients coming in with Covid, by New Year's Eve it was two hands full, now we open a ward and we fill it in a day.

"Most days we are at capacity and we have to do a lot of juggling, moving, praying and hoping to get through to the next day."

She added: "In reality the hospital will be full, we predict, in two weeks' time."

'Very, very scary'

John Hutton, 63, has been in hospital for 48 days with the virus and is now on a recovery ward.

"The worst part about it was when I went down to the ICU, that was the scariest thing I have ever gone through, and that's saying something," he said.

"I didn't think I was coming out of it, it was very, very scary."

image captionTracey Himsworth described her experience as 'terrifying'

Tracey Himsworth, 50, was diagnosed with the virus before Christmas and developed blood clots on her lungs.

"When I couldn't breathe, my husband and my daughter honestly thought they were going to lose me, it was an awful experience," she said.

"It's the worst thing, you really do have to take it seriously."

Hospital staff urged people to follow the rules and help bring the rates down.

Dr Donald Richardson, deputy medical director at the trust, said: "I'm worried that we're getting very close to the scenarios we're seeing down in London.

"We've converted another ward this week, I imagine by the end of today that will be full."

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