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Covid-19: Bishop's Stortford hospitals have gone 16 weeks without a death

The trust that runs the hospitals for Bishop's Stortford residents has now gone 16 weeks without a Covid-19 death – but cases are on the rise again in East Herts.

Data from NHS England on Monday (Sept 14) shows that the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (PAHT) – which operates the general Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) in Harlow and Herts & Essex Community Hospital off Haymeads Lane in Stortford – has gone 112 days without a Covid-19 death.

The figures, which are released daily at 2pm and cover the period up to 5pm the day before, show the last recorded death within the trust was on May 25.

To date there have been 201 recorded Covid-19 deaths at PAH. At the height of the pandemic in April, the trust was dealing with over 200 positive Covid-19 cases and the ventilator use for known Covid-19 patients was at almost 650% of its normal levels.

This has dropped over recent weeks to between zero and three patients at any one time.

The East of England region – which covers Hertfordshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk – was similarly affected, with 2,101 deaths reported in April, dropping to 47 for July and 16 for August.

In East Herts, cases of Covid-19 increased in August, with the seven-day rolling average as ofAugust 28 up to 2.9 cases a day – the highest since May 23 – but by September 10 this was down to 1.6 a day.

The week ending Sunday August 30 was the first week since May 10 that at least one Covid-19 case was reported every day.

Recently released data from Public Health England (PHE) recorded four positive tests for residents in the Bishop's Stortford Central area, the first time since the week of May 20-26 that reportable data – where three or more cases are confirmed – has occurred in any of the five areas that cover Bishop's Stortford.

Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on August 28 showed that at least 11 people in Bishop's Stortford have died with Covid-19 – but it could be as many as 24.

The East Herts district is split into 18 areas, five of which touch on Bishop's Stortford.

There have been six Covid-19 deaths in Stortford East, three in Stortford North, two in Stortford Central and none in Stortford South.

There have been 13 in the area called Bishop's Stortford West and Braughing, which includes the Bishop's Park and Bishop's Gate estates as well as most of Hadham Road – but which stretches for miles into the countryside, as far north as Stocking Pelham and as far west as beyond Puckeridge.

The area covering Sawbridgeworth, which includes Spellbrook, saw seven deaths registered with Covid-19.

The largely rural area in which Stansted Mountfitchet is situated registered 20 deaths in the five-month period. The Stansted area includes Farnham and Hazel End to the south west, Berden to the north west and Tye Green and Henham to the east.

The data covers deaths in the five-month period March 1 to July 31 (which were registered by Aug 15) where Covid-19 was the underlying cause or was mentioned on the death certificate as a contributory factor.

What Princess Alexandra Hospital's chief has to say

Lance McCarthy, chief executive of PAHT, said: “I am extremely proud of how our amazing people have responded to the demands of coronavirus (Covid-19) in recent months.

“We rapidly transformed the way we provide care to ensure the safety of our patients and our people, from delivering outpatient appointments over telephone and video call to supporting our patients to keep in touch with their friends and family members with our video call and message-sharing services.

"After a very challenging time for our community, we have been pleased to see that the number of patients requiring hospital treatment for coronavirus (Covid-19) has significantly decreased in the last couple of months.

“While coronavirus (Covid-19) remains at the forefront of the national consciousness, we continue to look to the future and what our patients can expect when accessing our services.

"Currently, this includes a range of measures such as staff and patients across all services, where appropriate, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), including face coverings for those coming to hospital, and social distancing supported by the arrangement of appointment times, protective screens at reception areas and signage.

"Visiting to the hospital is to remain suspended until further notice to protect our patients and our people, and we thank our community for their understanding. We urge all to continue to follow the national guidance to stay alert and safe.

“Our colleagues continue to go over and above in delivering care to our patients – or supporting those who are delivering care – and have met the challenges they have faced with energy, effort and, above all, dedication to our patients. We are also truly grateful to our community for the support they have shown us with gifts, donations and their kind words.”

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