Covid hospitalisations in Wales dropped by 11% last week, says health minister
The number of people with coronavirus in hospitals across Wales has dropped by 11 per cent in the last week.
Around one in 25 people have the virus, according to the most recent ONS survey released last week.
There is around 1,064 covid-related patients in hospital – down 11 per cent down from last week. Of these only 78 are being actively treated for covid, with 15 people in critical care with the virus.
The most recent three week review saw no changes to the last remaining covid measure – face coverings in health and social care settings – for at least another three weeks.
However staff related absences and other pressures are continuing in the health services, explained Health Minister Eluned Morgan.
Speaking in the Senedd yesterday, she said: “We must maintain our efforts to reduce transmission within hospital settings. Limiting visitor numbers to hospitals, maintaining social distancing and rigorous application of infection control procedures all remain important.
“With this in mind, and on the advice of the chief medical officer and technical advisory cell, Cabinet have made the decision to retain the last remaining legal restriction, that being the requirement for face coverings in indoor public areas of health and social care settings, for a further three weeks.
“I understand how challenging the past two years have been, in particular for those working in health and social care and for the people that they care for.
“There’s been much hard work and sacrifice, and I applaud the ongoing efforts, as we continue to take steps to keep safe the most vulnerable and the staff working in these high-risk settings.”
The health minister also warned that there is a risk of future waves and new variants of the virus due to more population mixing.
The loosening of the restrictions and the return of more normality for most of the population has also seen an increase in influenza and respiratory infections.
Ms Morgan explained that there is concern about how this could impact the NHS in the winter and that the Welsh Government are “carefully watching” the increase in people suffering from flu.
Conservative MS, Russell George, raised concern over the lack of face-to-face teaching that is being carried out in some further and higher education settings.
He said: “. Last year, complaints against English and Welsh universities reached the highest on record, with nearly half—45 per cent—relating to service issues such as teaching and course delivery.
“What is the Government doing to monitor business as usual returning to higher and further education settings so students can fully attend face-to-face teaching, which I think is particularly important before the exam season starts?”
Ms Morgan said it “will be a job for the education Minister to monitor how they get back to normal, just to see to what extent they can be increasing that face-to-face teaching that you set out was very important.”
Plaid Cymru’s Rhun as Iorwerth called for the introduction of specialist care for people with long-covid.
It is estimated that 438,000 people could be suffering from long-covid from the omicron wave.
He said: ” I’ve been contacted by parents who are concerned about the absence of treatment specifically for children.
“In England, the Minister will know that there is a network of long COVID centres, paediatric-focused centres, and what parents are telling me is not only can they not access treatment in specialist centres in Wales, but neither can they get a referral to centres outside of Wales, even if that is what would be best for their children.
“So, what plans will the Minister develop in order to ensure that children and young people specifically in Wales are given the best possible care for long COVID?”
The health minister said: “In terms of long-covid, you’ll be aware that we’ve focused on this as a Government and, certainly from the evidence that we’ve received from our programme, people are more or less content with what we have introduced, even though we started a little bit late on this, but by now I think that the situation has improved.
“I think that there is some work yet to do in terms of children, and what we’re talking about here are very small numbers.
“From what we’ve seen, very few children are impacted, but, of course, we do have a responsibility to help those children who are affected, and we do agree that there’s more work to do on that.”
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