LEIGHTON Hospital is ‘importing’ Covid patients from neighbouring areas, councillors have been told.

At a meeting of CWAC’s Outbreak Board, a representative for the region’s NHS Trust revealed that bed occupancy in the Mid Cheshire NHS Hospitals Trust, which manages Leighton Hospital, was at 86 percent.

Of these patients, 22 are confirmed coronavirus patients, and a further 20 are currently waiting on the results of tests.

CWAC leader Louise Gittins, who chaired the meeting, said: “We can see the numbers of [patients] are building but it is good to see that mutual aid is working so people can be reassured that they will have a bed found for them if it comes to that.”

‘Mutual aid’ is the process in which different NHS trusts move coronavirus patients to another hospital where there is spare capacity in intensive care.

Leighton Hospital has five patients in intensive care with coronavirus at the time of writing.

Two of these are from the Warrington and Halton NHS Trust, leaving three beds in the ICU empty for more Covid patients.

At the same meeting, CWAC Director of Public Health Ian Ashworth revealed that infection rates in the borough had fallen slightly since ‘tier 2’ restrictions were implemented last week.

However, Mr Ashworth warned that it was too early to say if these trends were long-term, or a delay in the reporting of cases over the weekend.