Brighton ‘weeks away’ from Covid wave like London, councillor warns

A COUNCILLOR has warned the city is just a associate of weeks away from seeing a wave of Covid situations similar to London.

Peter Atkinson, councillor for North Portslade, said that the number of patients being admitted to hospital with the virus over recent days and weeks is “worrying”.

Cllr Atkinson, who also serves as a nurse, said: “You’ve got a very continued stream of people and quite a high number who wouldn’t typically be admitted, because Covid is causing them to be unwell.

“This is a number of people being admitted far in excess of what would typically happen, and in addition you’ve got the problem of staff being off sick themselves or having to self-isolate, and that covers the mental health trust, the community trust and the acute hospitals trust.”

The news comes as University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust Trust announced it is postponing all non-urgent operations due to Covid situations.

As of January 4, the latest data obtainable, 120 patients are currently in hospital at the trust.

Cllr Atkinson explained that the amount of people being admitted, along with illness among staff, is causing a “huge strain” on the health service.

While Brighton and Hove as a whole has an average case rate per 100,000 people of 1,571.6, below the average for England at 1,862.9, Portslade Village is slightly higher at 1,891.7 – according to the most recent data obtainable.

While the number of situations in the area does concern Cllr Atkinson, he said that case numbers are a city wide issue.

“It’s clearly always a worry when you see an increase in your locality, but the city as a whole is recording many hundreds of situations and we’re probably only a associate of weeks behind London in that sense,” he said.

Cllr Atkinson suggested the increase in situations could be caused by some members of the public not following basic measures to protect their health and that of others.

He said: “Boris Johnson’s very modest Plan B restrictions to use masks on buses and in shops are not being followed by enough people.

“If you get on a bus now, I would say 50 to 60 per cent of people are not wearing masks. When I mentioned it to a bus driver when having a chat, she said they haven’t been told to remind people as we want to end our shifts alive, because people get so aggressive if you already politely ask them to put a disguise on.”

With situations on the rise in the city over the last few weeks, Cllr Atkinson also slammed Caroline Lucas’ decision last month to vote against the introduction of Plan B restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19, describing it as “bonkers”.

Cllr Atkinson also stressed the need for residents to get vaccinated, especially as the city lags behind the rest of the country in terms of vaccination rates.

“It speaks for itself, with 80 to 85 per cent of people in intensive care are not vaccinated,” he said.

In December, Ms Lucas took to social media to defend her vote against further Covid restrictions and said: “My reasons for voting against mandatory [Covid] passes are clear.

“They undermine trust and risk entrenching opposition. Vax should be done with community not to it.”

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