Critcon levels 3 and 4 are enacted during a ‘full stretch’ and ‘emergency’, when other wards need to be used for critical care.
But 146 units out of 222 (65 per cent) are still at ‘Critcon 0’, which is defined as ‘business as usual’ by the NHS.
Just 29 units (13 per cent) are at ‘Critcon 1’, defined as the usual impact of a bad winter. And only 19 (8 per cent) are at ‘Critcon 2’ described as a ‘medium surge’. 28 units have not reported their position.
Speaking at the Science and Technology Committee on Monday, Professor Whitty accepted that the number of struggling hospitals was ‘small, and we want to keep it that way.’
Dr Ron Daniels, an intensive care consultant at Sutton Coldfield’s Good Hope Hospital also said there had been a ‘slight dip’ in inpatient numbers and people in intensive care units.
“We shouldn’t pretend this is the start of decline. It’s likely they’ll go up again in a bumpy plateau over the winter which will hugely challenge the NHS. But it’s not bad news,” he said on Twitter,
Dr Daniels also said that figures show that far fewer patients now need ventilation (33.9 per cent v 72.1 per cent) and fewer are developing multi-organ failure.
The Chief Executive of NHS Wales said on Monday that the number of Covid-19 patients in Wales needing critical care is less than half of what it was during the peak of the virus, despite rising cases.
Dr Andrew Goodall said early intervention by doctors, aided by increased testing, and improvements with oxygen therapies meant that both demand on intensive care units and mortality rates were lower compared with April.
Demand for critical care capacity in Wales is 60 per cent lower than at the peak, with 57 people currently receiving treatment, while 1,275 people currently occupy hospital beds because of Covid-19 in non-critical care areas.