Watch Sunderland Royal Hospital nurse make mask wearing plea as Covid cases continue to rise
A senior nurse at the city’s hospital has pleaded with people to continue taking precautions such as mask wearing after seeing the number of Covid cases once again starting to rise.
Joanne Simm, who works as Respiratory Ward manager at Sunderland Royal Hospital, made the plea 13 hours into an exhausting shift looking after Covid patients.
In the last week of August, 58 people went into hospital in Sunderland and South Tyneside with Covid - an increase of 9.4 per cent compared to the previous seven days.
Joanne said: “Whilst we’ve not got as many patients on the ward as in previous waves there are many more than we would like and a lot of these people are very poorly.
"Local people have worked really hard throughout the pandemic and made sacrifices. May I ask that you don’t stop now. Yes, many restrictions may have been lifted but we still need to look after each other and those who are vulnerable.
"Please keep wearing your face coverings indoors and keep washing your hands. Where possible, keep your distance from others and remember meeting outdoors is always safest."
Joanne was making the plea on behalf of South Tyneside and Sunderland Trust with the latest figures showing there are currently 85 patients hospitalised across the Trust, five of whom are on ventilators.
In the week leading up to September 5, 1,035 people had a confirmed positive test result in the city, an increase of 14.9 per cent compared to the previous seven days, with Sunderland’s most recent Covid case rate recorded at 333 per 100,000 people.
Joanne added: “Above all please get both doses of your vaccine as this is the best way to protect yourself and those around you.”
It’s a sentiment shared by Dr Shaz Wahid, medical director at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, who said: "Covid is still very much with us and still poses a significant threat to older and more vulnerable people in our community.
"Because of this we are keeping a lot of our restrictions in place. Anyone coming into our buildings should continue to wear a face mask at all times, wash their hands and keep a distance from others wherever possible.
"The best thing you can do to support us and the wider community is to boost your immunity by making sure you have the Covid vaccine and Flu jab as soon as possible."
The Trust decided to release the public message as concerns grow about the potential for a rise in transmission rates as children return to schools across the region. The return of pupils was blamed for a sharp spike in Covid rates in Scotland last month.
While since July 19, the wearing of face coverings is no longer mandatory they are recommended in certain public settings.
A statement on the government website said: “While no situation is risk free, there are actions we can take to protect ourselves and others around us.
“We expect and recommend that members of the public continue to wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet, for example on public transport.
“You should use your judgement in deciding where you should wear one.”