St Mary’s Covid patients 4x rise since Christmas: Considering Chinook use (update 2)

Stephen Parker, the medical director of the Isle of Wight NHS trust, tells the Guardian he is planning “unthinkable options” after “astronomical” rise in infections

RAF Chinook and Ambulance Service at Seaclose Park

The medical director of the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, has said that within just days military helicopters could be used airlift Coronavirus patients from the Isle of Wight.

Stephen Parker told the Guardian newspaper that he was planning “unthinkable options”, including the evacuation of Covid-19 patients to the mainland.

As one of the smallest hospitals in the country, the medical director said the hospital could become overwhelmed and from messages passed to News OnTheWight by patients the staff are reported to be under enormous pressure.

Four-fold increase of patients
Mr Parker said there had been a four-fold increase in the number of patients being treated at the hospital for Covid-19.

A patient recently discharged told News OnTheWight that they were informed over there were 200 patients with Covid-19 at the hospital, last Tuesday there were 51, sparking a stark warning from the CEO of the NHS Trust, Maggie Oldham.

Isle of Wight NHS Trust have advised that the figure of 200 patients with Covid is not accurate. They say there are less than 100 patients with Covid-19, but they would not give the exact amount.

The NHS Website has a lag on data, but shows that in the week up to 3rd Jan there were 53. The Gov’s Covid dashboard shows that one 5th Jan there were 40 patients with Covid-19.

22 deaths this year
As reported in the weekly figures earlier today, there have been 22 deaths at the hospital since 1st January where the person had either tested positive for Covid-19 or had Covid-19 on their death certificate, taking the cumulative total on the Island to 113.

Chinook exercise
In April 2020 an exercise to land Chinook helicopters was carried out at Seaclose Park to test and evaluate longstanding helicopter landing site procedures, should they be needed, to transfer patients as a part of the contribution being made by the military in support of the IW NHS Trust during the COVID-19 emergency.

From Tier 1 to Tier 4 in days
When Boris Johnson announced the new tier system after the November Lockdown, the Island was placed in Tier 1.

This jumped to Tier 3 on Boxing Day after the numbers had started rising, and a spike in numbers over the Christmas period pushed the Island into Tier 4 just a few days later.

The rise in cases since the end of October can be seen below – mouseover the graph to see the number of cases each day.

Stewart: “The outcome is in our hands”
Isle of Wight Council leader, Dave Stewart, has called on residents to redouble their efforts and follow the national lockdown rules to stop the spread of the new, more transmissible variant of the virus.

He said,

“We must strive to do everything in our power to prevent local services reaching capacity as they have elsewhere. The outcome is in our hands and we must grasp this opportunity to defeat the virus and rebuild our lives.

“Once again, the Island can show its true community spirit by rising to the challenge we face and doing what is required of us. If everyone does what is being asked, we will come through safely.”

Thanks to Andrew for the heads up.

Article edit
1.10pm 12th Jan 2021 – Comment from DS added
1.45pm 12th Jan 2021 – Clarification to number of people ion hospital

Source: The Guardian

Tuesday, 12th January, 2021 12:58pm



Filed under: Health, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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12 Comments on "St Mary’s Covid patients 4x rise since Christmas: Considering Chinook use (update 2)"

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There has to be a reason why Covid rates here went up so far, so fast. Tier 1 to tier 4 in just 5 days is ridiculous.


It’s a concatenation, informally known as a cluster****. Most of us are aware of the reasons for it. I’d also suggest that tier 1 status was allowed to continue after the numbers started to indicate tougher restrictions were needed.

Rhos yr Alarch

Yes, once the high infection numbers were known in Portsmouth, without immediate change in the IW’s Tier 1 status, this was sadly all to predictable. And the limited capacity of local NHS services was also known all along…

Rhos yr Alarch

“too” not “to”, apologies…

This increase is due to people over staying the Christmas Day rule, more people in houses when not aloud. It doesn’t help when people refuse to wear masks or shields. If you can’t wear either then stay home. Dedicated numbers are for people who need food delivered just phone Morrison’s and food is delivered to your door. How would you feel I’d your loved one was flown… Read more »

The problem with the theory that the increase in Covid cases was islanders mixing over Christmas is that we were already in tier 4 on Boxing Day, far too soon for Christmas day infections to have developed, been diagnosed and appeat in the offcial “rolling rate” figures which are 5 days behind the actual test result.


appear not appeat. Doh!

Can things get any worse? Experts say that lateral flow tests (used for mass testing outside a hospital/lab setting, such as home testing and schools, also care homes) are not accurate. This link is to a Guardian article. The original is from the BMJ (link within the G article). No, NOT a lot of false positives, “causing panic and harm for no good reason” as the tinfoil… Read more »

can things get any worse? wait for the depression and the chaos that will bring and then judge. it will be worse than anything any of us have seen.


Where are they going to fly these covid patients to? All the big London hospitals are full, indeed, they are shipping covid patients out of many London hospitals


They’ll probably fly around a bit, and land back on the island.

Pity our one and only hospital on the island has been driven into the ground by our penny pinching government, I can’t see our immediate partners on the mainland running to our rescue, they are in just as bad a situation as the IW, if not worse.

Rhos yr Alarch

Exactly – and London has already reserved additional spaces in areas such as Yorkshire. The few areas with low rates of infection are at some considerable distance, and the question arises as to how those fortunate to survive would be expected to make their way home…