Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust has postponed most non-essential operations after the number of coronavirus patients being hospitalised has risen to higher than seen during the first wave of the virus. But does this mean the area will move into a Tier 3 lockdown?
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, Leeds has reported 3,337 cases.
This equates to a rate of 420.7 per 100,000 residents in the region.
The number of cases and deaths from coronavirus continued to rise in Leeds yesterday, recording another two deaths bringing the overall death toll to 362.
Leeds is located in Yorkshire and The Humber in the UK which has confirmed 20,929 during the crisis with a rate of 380.3 per 100,000 people.
READ MORE: Two million more people could face Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions
What is Tier 3 lockdown?
Tier 3 is the most severe level in the Government’s three-tier system which categorises areas in England according to the prevalence of the virus in each place.
The following measures are put in place in Tier 3 areas:
Pubs and bars must close and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant, which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.
Wedding receptions are not allowed.
People cannot meet anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. The “Rule of Six” applies in open public spaces like parks and beaches
People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘very high’ area they are in, or entering a ‘very high’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit
People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘very high’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘very high’ area if they are resident elsewhere
On Tuesday, Leeds official and Government ministers debated about moving the region into Tier 3.
No final decision was made, but Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman warned tougher coronavirus restrictions in the area are ”inevitable”.
He said: “Covid is rampant. Rates are going up. Hospitals are under pressure locally and nationally.
“I think they are going to put us in the next tier quite soon. It’s inevitable.”
In a statement published on October 27, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority confirmed talks were ongoing between the Government and West Yorkshire leaders.
The statement read: “This afternoon we met with Government ministers to discuss the worsening COVID-19 infection rate in the region and our proposals to strengthen community engagement, test and trace, and supporting the vulnerable while protecting jobs and livelihoods.
“Discussions remain ongoing and will continue tomorrow.”
The fears of stricter lockdown measures have been shared by Kirklees Council leaders.
In a letter to the Government, the Kirklees Council wrote: “Rising infection rates in Kirklees and the pressure that is having on the NHS is something we must take seriously, and we need to do all we can to improve this situation so we can save lives. However, we do not believe Tier 3 restrictions are the best way for us to do this.
“The closure of our pubs and bars will have a devastating impact on our economy and people’s livelihoods, and we have not seen the evidence that this will directly impact on infection rates.
“We instead need to continue the work we are doing at a local level, on the ground, in our communities.
“We are already seeing positive results from this work, with Kirklees now having the lowest rates in West Yorkshire. We’re urging the Government to give us more resources to build on this.
“We’re concerned about the mental health of people in Kirklees, many of whom have been under local restrictions since July.
“Preventing people from visiting each other’s gardens will be a big blow during what is already a very difficult time.
“We also do not feel comfortable agreeing for Kirklees to enter Tier 3 without any indication of how we get out of these restrictions and how long they will last.
“For these reasons, Kirklees’ Outbreak Control Board has unanimously agreed to urge the Government not to place Kirklees in Tier 3 and to instead let us build on the work we’re doing to prevent the spread of the virus locally.”
The speculation comes as non-essential operations in Leeds are being postponed due to rising rates of hospitalisation of covid patients.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said it had 263 covid patients on Tuesday, of which 22 are in intensive care units.
The Trust said it expects ICU numbers to rise in the next 48 hospitals.
It said there were 148 Covid patients in its hospital on Tuesday last week, equating to a rise of 115, or 78 percent, in a week.