Coronavirus: Northwick Park Hospital seeing a ‘lull’ in covid-19 cases as more than 700 people discharged

Dr Rachel Tennant, Northwick Park Hospital consultant. Picture: Nathalie Raffray

Dr Rachel Tennant, Northwick Park Hospital consultant. Picture: Nathalie Raffray - Credit: Archant

Northwick Park Hospital is experiencing “a lull” in coronavirus cases which staff are using to prepare should there be another wave of infections.

Dr Rachel Tennant, consultant in acute and respiratory medicine, at the Watford Road hospital, was speaking at a webinar hosted by Young Harrow Foundation on Friday.

She said the hospital has seen a “massive decline in cases” as more than 700 patients have been discharged and a number of beds in intensive are currently empty.

A further 587 people have died in the UK who tested positive for the Coronavirus have died, according to NHS England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 17,373.

Of the 126 deaths in London over the last few days, there were no figures for the North West London University Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Northwick Park, St Mark’s and Ealing hospitals.

The hospital is starting some drug trials to see if they can find some treatments to help those with the disease, Dr Tennant told the meeting.

She added: “Thank goodness for social distancing and thank you everybody for doing that; it’s made a world of difference.

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“We reached the peak cases of this first peak in the first week of April and we’ve seen a massive decline of cases in recent weeks.

“We’re now in what I call a lull phase, waiting to see what happens next, we are all ready for more.”

Northwick Park Hospital has an infectious diseases and tropical medicine department which placed it at an advantage before Covid took hold.

“We were the first hospital in the country who pioneered a swab squad of testing patients in their own home,” Dr Tennant added. ”We thought early on it would be really important to keep people with coronavirus separate from the people who didn’t have the disease.”

However at the beginning of March she revealed the hospital trust was experiencing the number of coronavirus cases doubling every two days – rather than every five days as predicted and that they had quadrupled the size of their intensive care unit.

“I don’t think anyone expected this,” she added.

The majority of cases seen at the hospital recover in seven to eight days, she said, while one in five patients develop the life-threatening condition named Covid-19 pneumonitis.

Wearing masks to stop the spread of disease might give people “false reassurance and reduce handwashing”.

“My main take home message is social distancing is working, and please, please don’t get bored, stick with it, it’s so important, it’s the way we’re going to get on top of this.”