Discussions ongoing by council leaders to support economy amid Tier 3 fears in Leeds

The leaders of councils across West Yorkshire are continuing discussions with government ministers - to "support the economy should it be necessary" to move into Tier 3.

Wednesday, 28th October 2020, 6:07 pm
Updated Wednesday, 28th October 2020, 6:12 pm

The leaders 'work in partnership with local councils and businesses to ensure that everyone in our region benefits from a strong, successful economy and a modern, accessible transport network'.

They met with government ministers on Tuesday to discuss proposals to strengthen community engagement, test and trace and supporting the vulnerable "while protecting jobs and livelihoods".

The talks have continued into Wednesday, the council leaders said.

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In a statement, the leaders said: "This afternoon, discussions have been ongoing to discuss steps for controlling the rising COVID-19 infection rates across the region and a package of measures to support the West Yorkshire economy should it be necessary to move into Tier Three (Very High) restrictions.

"We have not yet concluded these discussions at this point and we will continue tomorrow to get the best for our communities."

The talks come amid a rapid rise in Covid admissions across Leeds hospitals.

As reported in the Yorkshire Evening Post, there are more Covid patients currently in Leeds Hospitals than at the peak of the pandemic.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said there are 263 patients currently in their beds who have tested positive for Covid - including 22 in intensive care.

Managers said the pressure on beds has become "far greater than in the first wave".

The trust said they are "currently working very hard to ensure they treat as many patients as possible" - while ensuring they provide a safe hospital environment.

Covid patients are being treated separately to those who test negative, the trust said.

The number of people in critical care is expected to increase over the next 48 hours in the hospitals.

Covid patient numbers have increased from 148 on Tuesday Oct 20 to 263 on Oct 27.

The trust said this demonstrates "how quickly the virus is spreading".

Older people with respiratory conditions have made up the majority of the admissions, the trust said.

The infection rate for over-59s has increased from 165 per 100,000 last Saturday to 269 per 100,000 according to the trust.

According to the PA news agency, staff at Leeds General Infirmary and St James's University Hospital have been told the growing number of admissions mean it is "looking even more likely" Leeds will be moved into Tier 3 of coronavirus restrictions.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the trust said: "Not only is the number of COVID cases increasing but so is the rate of increase.

"Local modelling based on prevalence data indicates that it may continue to rise for the next two weeks

"We are using evidence gained during the first wave of the pandemic to increase capacity on a planned and phased basis to deal with rising numbers of COVID patients.

"Our current overall bed occupancy is far greater than in the first wave so there is very significant pressure on our inpatient capacity."

The trust are standing down some planned operations due to current pressures in the hospital.

Some patients will have their treatment postponed, with only essential operations going ahead in most cases.

The trust said they are also offering daily flu vaccination clinics to protect the health of staff.

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