The number of people with covid in Devon hospitals has fallen sharply over the past fortnight, but one leading health chief is warning of a “tough winter”.
As of Tuesday, July 26, there were 166 patients in hospital in the county with the virus, down from a recent high of 334 on July 11. Two people are in mechanically ventilated beds.
For most people, covid is no longer the reason they are admitted in the first place. Two thirds of the tests were positive once in the hospital.
However, while Devon’s director of public health says it is “really good to see the number of hospitalizations down”, he warned that “some caution is still needed, especially as we enter the autumn and winter period”.
Speaking to the Devon team meeting local leaders on Thursday [28 July]Steve Brown urged eligible people to come forward and get flu and covid shots when the time comes.
He believes that the covid booster will be launched in the first week of September. Anyone aged 50 and over, care home residents, frontline healthcare staff and clinically vulnerable people will be eligible.
“When it comes to covid, we know that historically [in the] we can see higher rates in the winter, so the covid-19 vaccination program is going to be really, really important,” Mr Brown said.
He added that the southern hemisphere – where it is currently winter – is seeing “quite a high number” of flu in adults and children. “So the flu shot will be just as important.
The meeting was also told that the current cost of living crisis, with energy bills set to soar again in the autumn, could add further pressure during what Mr Brown predicts will be a “tough winter ahead”.
He warned: “We’re going to have vulnerable people who are potentially at risk from living in a cold environment, as well as covid and flu.”