The drop in coronavirus cases in the community is finally having an impact on the number of patients being admitted into Salisbury District Hospital.

Fewer coronavirus patients are currently being treated on the Odstock Road site compared to a few weeks ago.

Although the decline is encouraging, deaths continue to be reported almost on a daily basis.

Staff are "exhausted" and remain under pressure.

But while it's too soon to say we are past the peak of the second wave, there are signs that things are starting to get better.

'Not out of the woods yet'

Stacey Hunter, Chief Executive of Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust has shared an update on the current situation.

"We are incredibly pleased that the number of COVID positive patients being treated at the hospital has begun to fall," she said.

"However, we are not out of the woods yet and there remain many sick people being cared for on our wards and elsewhere across the community, and sadly we continue to experience COVID related deaths.

Salisbury Journal: Chief Executive Stacey HunterChief Executive Stacey Hunter

"Today we are treating more patients than at the peak of the first wave in the spring.

"At the hospital we remain prepared for whatever comes next and urge everyone to continue to comply with all the relevant guidance and encourage everyone to get their vaccination whenever it is offered to them."

'Under pressure'

According to the latest figures, around 60 positive patients are currently on site compared to around 40 in April last year.

In the past seven days alone, 14 patients passed away having tested positive for the virus.

"Staff across the whole NHS and in partner agencies are all feeling pretty exhausted," Ms Hunter said.

"And here at Salisbury Hospital it is no different, we remain under pressure. 

"But everyday I am amazed by the resilience and dedication of the entire workforce, when they get knocked they seem to just bounce back. 

"The resilience of colleagues is enabling the hospital to continue offering calm compassionate care to our patients.

"My heartfelt thanks goes out to every member of staff and all those that support them at home and in their personal lives."

Salisbury Journal: Staff in Salisbury's ICUStaff in Salisbury's ICU

Signs things are improving

Last month, changes to the hospital had to be made to respond to the sudden surge in Covid patients.

This included preparing the gym at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Centre for more beds and using the Day Surgery Unit as ward space for non-Covid patients.

While the Spinal gym remains ready to be used "in case of further escalation," the Day Surgery Unit is now going back "to its primary purpose".

Staffing levels are also getting better.

Throughout the pandemic, the hospital was hit by "significant staff shortages" due to members of its workforce being ill or having to self-isolate.

However, Ms Hunter said: "Right now I am pleased that the levels of sickness are reducing which is helping relieve some of the pressure on staff."

'Moments of joy'

Since the start of the pandemic, 188 patients have passed away after contracting the virus but many more have gone on to be discharged to continue their recovery at home.

These figures are not disclosed but Ms Hunter confirmed they are very high.

"We have indeed been discharging more patients who have recovered enough to leave hospital than have died from COVID.

"Like every death is a personal tragedy, every discharge is a moment of joy."

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