Covid unit reopens at Royal London as new cases spike
- Credit: Mike Brooke
The Covid intensive care unit has had to be reopened at the Royal London Hospital as cases continue to rise.
It is treating 19 patients in the isolation wards on the 15th floor Queen Elizabeth Unit, compared to seven at the end of last month.
The reopening by Barts Health NHS Trust comes just days before all lockdown rules come to an end on July 19.
The trust recorded 67 inpatients in its five east London hospitals had tested positive for the virus on July 14, while another 13 were newly diagnosed the day before.
The trust said in a statement: “We have plans in place to care for increased numbers of patients with Covid-19 in the coming weeks.
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“Our Covid critical care unit at the Royal London has re-opened In line with our operational plans.
“Getting a Covid-19 vaccine remains the best thing to protect against coronavirus.”
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The Queen Elizabeth Unit is isolated on the 15th floor of the hospital’s main tower block, which had been empty since the new Whitechapel complex opened in 2013.
It means doctors can treat patients separately away from the rest of the hospital.
The number of new cases recorded by Tower Hamlets health authorities reached 263 per 100,000 of the population over seven days, compared to 158 the week before, latest figures revealed this week.
Tower Hamlets director of public health Dr Somen Banerjee warned: “The likelihood is that cases will continue to rise through July as restrictions ease.
“The risk of getting Covid-19 or experiencing severe impacts of infection will increase in people who are not yet vaccinated.
“This highlights the importance of getting vaccinated as soon as possible.”
Cases in people 60 or over continue to rise — but are much lower than in younger age groups because eight out of 10 seniors are fully vaccinated with two doses.
Around 8,000 more people have had their first jab and 6,000 more have had their second dose in the past week alone through Tower Hamlets NHS surgeries and vaccine clinics.
Around 92,000 of the East End's population are said to be “fully vaccinated” with two doses.