The rising cases of coronavirus is effecting the capacity of the health service to treat other serious issues, a Welsh NHS Confederation director has warned.
Cases in Wales have increased dramatically since the end of the firebreak lockdown, and according to Darren Hughes this is having a huge impact right across the Welsh NHS.
He also urged people not to mix with each other in the run up to Christmas in order to keep cases as low as possible.
In the seven days up to 5 December Wales had 326.84 cases per 100,000 people, which is up from 223.86 in the week up to 23 November.
Wales’ Chief Medical Officer Dr Frank Atherton has now said that the rate is now almost 350 cases per 100,000 people. He has warned there is “serious pressure” on the NHS, particularly in south Wales.
The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford has defended his government’s decision to have a short lockdown of 17 days in the autumn and has claimed that the recent rise in cases was partly due to people not being willing to follow the rules.
Responding to the latest Welsh Government update on Coronavirus in Wales, Darren Hughes, Director of the Welsh NHS Confederation said: “The figures highlighted today by the Chief Medical Officer in Wales are a reminder of how serious the situation is in Wales.
“As rates of infection rise across Wales and Coronavirus spreads throughout all age groups, the number of patients in hospital with Coronavirus also rises, having a huge impact on the NHS.
“These impacts are felt right across the health and care system and affects the capacity for us to treat other significant health issues.
“As a consequence of increased transmission rates, more staff are at risk of contracting the virus or having to self-isolate because others in their household have symptoms. Staff are really feeling the effects of this across Wales.
“They are working flat out to give patients the very best care they can. We are, as always grateful for their efforts over the course of this very challenging year.
“Yesterday saw the launch of the mass vaccination programme where almost 1,500 health and social care staff across Wales were vaccinated in the first day alone.
“Whilst it is really positive to see the first clinics up and running after months of hard work and planning, the vaccine does not mean the pandemic is over and that we can go back to business as usual.
“All of us in the NHS understands the importance of Christmas to people in Wales. That’s why we’re asking the public to avoid mixing with people from other households in the following weeks in order to reduce the number of people we’re in contact with.
“We usually catch Coronavirus from people we trust, people we live with or people we work with, so it’s really important that we think carefully about what we should do, rather than what we can do.”