THE Countess of Chester Hospital is no longer treating any Covid patients, latest NHS figures have confirmed.

The latest available data revealed that as of 8am on May 11, there were no patients confirmed to have coronavirus at the hospital, with the last two having been discharged on May 7.

It is not the first time the hospital has been Covid-free during the pandemic – there were no Covid patients being treated at the hospital between September 5-7 and September 9-14, 2020 – but the milestone is nonetheless a welcome one for the hospital, which at its peak was treating 290 patients with coronavirus.

That meant staff and patients had to be redeployed around the trust to cope with the huge numbers, which made up more than half the patients being treated at the hospital overall.

It also means it has been more than a month since the last recorded Covid patient death at the hospital trust, which sadly occurred on April 10. Since the start of the pandemic, 617 Covid patients at the Countess have lost their lives.

While the news is positive, the threat of Covid is still present, with the number of cases beginning to rise in Cheshire West and Chester.

This is down to a combination of restrictions being eased in the UK, and the 'Indian variant' blamed for a spike in the number of cases in the north of England, particularly around Bolton and Blackburn, where infection rates have risen sharply in recent weeks.

Cheshire West and Chester's infection rate remains under 10, but is expected to rise in the next few days once the new confirmed cases are accounted for in the rolling infection rate.

Of the confirmed cases, the majority are being found in people aged under 40 – ie. those who have largely yet to receive a dose of a Covid vaccine.

People aged 38 and 39 can now obtain their vaccination in the UK, but City Walls Medical Centre – the Covid vaccination centre for the Chester South Primary Care Network including Handbridge, Lache and Western Avenue Medical Centres – is offering vaccine appointments to its patients aged over 30.

NHS Cheshire CCG, which covers the Cheshire west and Chester, and Cheshire East areas, has now given first dose jabs to 64 per cent of those aged 40-44, 77.6 per cent to those aged 45-49 and more than 90 per cent to every age demographic for 50 and above.

For second doses, 35.3 per cent of those aged 60-64 have had two jabs, 66.5 per cent for those aged 65-69, and more than 90 per cent for those aged 70 and above.