There are small signs that Wales’ hospitals may be starting to see a reduction in pressures due to Covid.
For weeks the NHS has had its resources tested as it contends with a rise in coronavirus cases as well as a high demand brought on by the winter weather.
In the case of the former, and with widespread transmission of the virus in some wards, it has led to all non-essential procedures cancelled.
We have gone through the latest Welsh Government hospital data to work out whether there is cause for optimism.
First off is Covid admissions. This is people admitted to hospital with suspected or confirmed coronavirus.
As you can seen from the graph below it is very volatile but does seem to be trending down. Though it is still very high – with more than 100 people admitted to hospital with Covid on January 30 alone.
The next measurement is how many “invasive” ventilated beds are available. Though ICU staff have found that it helps survival rates to try and stop patients from being ventilated if possible – it is often the case that people need to be.
The UK has some of the lowest rates of these kinds of beds in Europe and there is not a lot of slack in the system.
The good news is that there are more free invasive ventilated beds available now than at any point in January. The bad news is there are still on 60 in the whole of Wales – though this is up from 24 at the start of January.
The final measurement is the amount of beds (of all kinds) occupied by Covid patients.
We have broken the data down by health board.
You can see that all health boards except Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board have passed the peak (hopefully). The reason the north Wales Covid bed occupation seems to be going up is because the north saw increases in cases until well into January and only saw a sustained fall once the lockdown in the north west of England had kicked in.
You can see that Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, which was particularly hard hit, has seen a significant fall though it is by no means out of the woods.
The reason it takes hospitals a long time to recover from a spike in cases is because of how long it takes for the disease to develop.
You can see from this graphic how long it takes from someone contracting Covid to recovery or death:
This estimates that the peak of deaths is usually about three weeks after the peak in cases.
With more people now surviving Covid it means that they have to stay in hospital for longer whereas before they would have died.
-- to www.walesonline.co.uk