The current pressure on Wiltshire's hospitals is 'just as challenging as during Christmas' the council's health boss has warned.

In a press briefing this morning, February 8, Wiltshire Public Health Director Kate Blackburn warned that the NHS is facing huge challenges as the pressures on acute services are exacerbated by high levels of Covid.

She highlighted that there are large numbers of 'very unwell people' requiring 999 ambulance services and urgent hospital care.

Covid cases in Wiltshire 

The current case rate in Wiltshire is 1098.5 Covid cases per 100,000 people, as per the latest figures from the seven days up to February 2. 

This is higher than the UK average of 938.6 cases per 100,000 people for the same period.

The number of Covid cases recorded during this period in Wiltshire is 5537.

In Wiltshire there has been 975 registered deaths in total that included COVID-19 on the death certificate up to January 21.

Pressures on the NHS 

Covid case rates in Wiltshire are high, and this puts pressure hospitals as it is important vulnerable patients do not come in contact with the virus. 

This means that staff with a positive Covid test must self-isolate, whether they have symptoms or not, just as members of the public must self-isolate if they have symptoms or recieve a positive lateral flow test. 

Kate Blackburn shared that Wiltshire services are facing challenges with discharging patients, and there is a high number of Covid related staff absences.

There is guidance on the NHS webste on when to self isolate

Message from Wiltshire's Public Health Director

Although the vaccinations have lessened people's chances of becoming seriously ill, or hospitalised with the virus, Mrs Blackburn stressed that you can still catch the virus, it causes disruptions in people's lives, and puts pressure on the health service.

She also highlighted the importance of wearing a mask in crowded spaces and taking a lateral flow test regularly, particularly if meeting a large group of people or anyone who is vulnerable.

Mrs Blackburn said: “The health system is currently dealing with some big challenges.

“The pressure on our local acute trust is just as challenging as it was at Christmas, if not more so really.

"Do what you can to stay safe and keep healthy so that those pressures can start to ease during this last period of winter. 

"Of course that includes protecting yourself from Covid but also just trying to maintain general good health.

"Simple things can really make a difference like keeping a well stocked medicine cabinet at home to treat those minor illnesses and injuries, including those mild side effects you might get from the booster doses."

If you need health advice for minor ailments, local pharmacies provide useful information, as does the NHS website, and the BSW NHS website including for mental wellbeing. 

Using NHS 111 online first if you have a minor illness is recommended, and in emergences call 999.