NHS England released its weekly bed occupancy figures for week 5, 28th December 2020 to 3rd January 2021, this morning, and Dr No has given them the same treatment that he gave weeks 3 and 4. The headline is overall occupancy is still lower than it was in the corresponding week in either 2018/19 or 2019/20, but there are within the overall picture some clear hot spots, notably in London. The heat map colours are the same: red means occupancy is 95% or higher, amber means occupancy is between 90 and 95%, and green means occupancy is 90% or less. As in previous weeks, the images in the post are simple visual indicators — the more red, the hotter things are, the more green, the less hot things are, with links to larger pdf versions in the captions. Week 3, rather than week 4, which includes Christmas Day and Boxing Day when activity is lower, images are provided for comparison.
Figure 1: General and Acute Bed Occupancy heat map by day and trust for week 5, 28th December 2020 to 3rd January 2021. A much larger pdf version is available here. Overall, occupancy was 86.7%, which is lower than the same week in either 2019/20 (94.2%) or 2018/19 (93.2%).
Figure 2: General and Acute Bed Occupancy heat map by day and trust for week 3, 14th December to 20th December 2020, for comparison.
Figure 3: Adult Critical Care Bed Occupancy heat map by day and trust for week 5, 28th December 2020 to 3rd January 2021. A much larger pdf version is available here. Overall, occupancy was 79.5%, which is lower than the same week in either 2019/20 (82.4%) or 2018/19 (83.3%), but London, and the East and South East to a lesser extent, are visibly much hotter than in week 3 2020/21 (Figure 4 below).
Figure 4: Adult Critical Care Bed Occupancy heat map by day and trust for week 3, 14th December to 20th December 2020, for comparison.
Following on from Dr Tomlison’s comments in the previous post, Dr No will see if he can add the daily covid data to the occupancy data to determine how many beds are ‘covid’ beds, and if he is successful, he will publish the results in a new post.
Edit 17:30 7th Jan 2021: Dr No has managed to add the covid data to the last week’s data to determine crude percentages of beds occupied by covid patients for general and critical care beds. The data are far from perfect, for example the sit-reps used for the above charts count total and occupied (a) general and acute and (b) adult critical care beds, whereas the daily covid file, available here, counts “Total beds – occupied by confirmed COVID-19 patients” and “Mechanical Ventilation beds – occupied by confirmed COVID-19 patients”. Nonetheless, if we assume the former are all beds occupied by covid patients, then the general and acute beds occupied will be total beds occupied less MV (mechanical ventilation) beds occupied, and MV beds occupied will be, one hopes, close to adult critical care beds occupied.
Running these plots produces nothing very remarkable. There is certainly ‘a lot of it about’, but that’s what we expect in winter. Occupancy by covid patients has increased slightly in some regions, but not explosively, over the last week, and furthermore, a number of these ‘covid’ patients will have ‘coincidental covid’, and will be in hospital for other reasons, and so are unlikely to represent ‘excess’ covid patients, as they would have been in hospital anyway, for the ‘other reason’. As the plots aren’t very striking, rather than do a new post, Dr No will add them here.
Figure 5: percentage of all general and acute beds occupied by covid patients for the week 28th December 2020 to 3rd January 2021. See text above for necessary caveats.
Figure 6: percentage of all adult critical care (MV) beds occupied by covid patients for the week 28th December 2020 to 3rd January 2021. See text above for necessary caveats.