Northamptonshire hospitals 'incredibly busy' with more than just Covid so don't go if you have hayfever, boss warns
Four coronavirus patients at Kettering and Northampton hospitals - all under-50 and not double-vaccinated
People are being reminded not to go to either Northamptonshire hospital unless it is absolutely necessary as they are extremely busy.
While there are only four coronavirus patients at Kettering and Northampton hospitals, including one in intensive care, other wards are in high demand.
So chief executive Deborah Needham asked residents to call 111 or visit a pharmacy in the first instance rather than attending A&E - like one person with hayfever did recently.
"It doesn't seem like a lot of patients but both hospitals and GPs are incredibly busy at the moment," she told a press conference this afternoon (Friday, June 18).
"What we are starting to see across both hospitals is patients are coming in to A&E departments who have got really minor illnesses that could be seen by pharmacists or treated at home like hayfever.
"While that may seem serious and severe to the individual experiencing the effects of that, it doesn't warrant a trip to your GP, unless you can't breathe, or a trip to A&E.
"So my message to the general public is to please keep hospitals free of patients that don't need to be there, please use alternatives like contacting 111 via the internet or phone 111, they will direct you to the right place."
A&Es are so busy that staff will be triaging people who show up at the front door and direct those who do not need emergency care to the appropriate service, Ms Needham added.
The hospital boss also said the patients in hospital with Covid are aged under 50 and have not all had both doses of the vaccine so she urged younger people to get the jab as soon as possible.
"What's really important is this is very different to the previous waves of Covid in terms of age of admissions as it is now in the younger age groups and those who haven't had their vaccine," she said.
"So please go and get it as this virus doesn't stop affecting everybody so it's really important you go and have your vaccine."
Covid-19 cases in Northamptonshire are rising again with 303 recorded in the last week - a 21 per cent increase compared to the previous seven days.
The majority are of the more-transmissible Delta variant and Northampton saw the biggest increase - although the county's rate is lower than the national one.
The success of the vaccination rollout has meant there have been much fewer hospitalisations and barely any deaths, director of public health Lucy Wightman said.
All adults can now book to get the immunisation and the team behind the rollout is confident of offering it all of them by July 19.