Residents are being urged stay at home whenever possible as Covid-19 (coronavirus) cases in the Borough hit a record high, exceeding 1,000 per 100,000 for the first time.
This means that 1 in 100 people in Bedford Borough tested positive for COVID-19 in just one week.
And hospital chiefs have said the situation is worse than it has ever been, with extended Critical Care capacity already nearly reached.
The figures for the seven days from 29 December to 4 January show that there were 1,752 cases in Bedford Borough or 1,011 per 100,000 population.
The dramatic rise in cases has seen increased hospital admissions, placing the NHS and the care sector under huge pressure.
Paul Tisi, Joint Medical Director, Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust emphasised how tough the start of 2021 had been for the hospital: “It has been an enormously difficult start to the year.
“We need members of the public to keep taking this disease extremely seriously. Please follow the national guidance to reduce transmission.
“We are seeing extremely high numbers of admissions – patients both with and without COVID. The severity of sickness is very high.”
The hospital is currently receiving high numbers of ambulances and overall capacity across Bedford and L&D hospitals is stretched, despite extending the number of critical care beds.
“We have significantly extended our critical care capacity to care for our very sickest patients, but sadly the numbers of these patients are still very high.
“We have almost filled our extended capacity, as have many hospitals across the country, and we are still seeing deaths of patients with COVID-19 on a daily basis.
Mr Tisi paid tribute to the NHS staff who he said are working tirelessly to provide the best quality care possible.
The message could not be clearer: play your part to protect the NHS and stay at home.
You may leave your home to:
- shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
- go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
- exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
- meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
- seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
- attend education or childcare – for those eligible
Vicky Head, Director of Public Health at Bedford Borough Council said: “This new milestone is a very unwelcome one, and really does show how much cases are increasing with the new variant of coronavirus spreading more easily.
“COVID-19 cases are increasing.
“Every single person must play their part. Please stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”