THE number of coronavirus patients in Gwent's hospitals has risen substantially in the past month, as the region's health board warns of increasing demand for other services.

On Thursday, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) was treating 519 people in hospital for Covid-19 – the most of any health board in Wales.

One month ago, that number was 367.

This week, first minister Mark Drakeford said the priority of Wales' public health rules was to make sure the NHS could cope with Covid-19 and continue running other services.


The number of coronavirus admissions in Gwent has climbed more-or-less steadily in recent weeks, and Welsh Government figures show ABUHB is also dealing with the highest proportion of coronavirus cases in its hospitals.

Figures show 519 of the health board's 1,347 hospital patients (38 per cent) are there for Covid-19 related reasons.

This includes people who have confirmed Covid-19, as well as people with suspected coronavirus and people who may be recovering from the illness.

The news comes after the Welsh Ambulance Service and ABUHB reported "extremely high demand" for emergency care at the region's new Grange University Hospital.

The health board urged people to think which medical services they required before deciding to attend the Grange, which is ABUHB's specialist emergency and critical-care hospital, and does not deal with minor injuries.

"Please only attend the hospital if you have a life-threatening illness or serious injury, such as severe breathing difficulties, severe pain or bleeding, chest pain or a suspected stroke, [or] serious trauma injuries," the health board said on Thursday, urging people with less-serious injuries to visit a Minor Injury Unit in Newport, Abergavenny, Ystrad Mynach, or Ebbw Vale.

Anyone with an illness that they are struggling to manage at home should call 111, the health board added.

Across Wales, 23 per cent of all people in hospital are coronavirus patients.

Earlier this week, first minister Mark Drakeford said the "touchstone for success" of any public health measures should be to ensure the NHS is not overrun by Covid-19 and can continue treating other patients.

"For me, what success looks like is that our NHS is able to go on providing care for people who fall ill with coronavirus, and is able to go on doing all the other things that we look to the NHS to do," he said.

"If we were not to take action... it would inevitably mean that other activity would be squeezed out of the system.

"There just wouldn't be the capacity do do that and do everything else that the NHS is trying to do."

ABUHB's proportion of coronavirus patients is much higher than those of other health boards.

Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB is currently treating 420 people for Covid-19 among 1,238 hospital patients (33 per cent).

At Swansea Bay UHB, 338 of the 1,163 hospital patients are there for Covid-19 reasons (29 per cent).

In West Wales, Hywel Dda UHB is treating 135 coronavirus patients among 866 people in hospital (15 per cent).

Cardiff and Vale UHB has 202 coronavirus patients among its 1,351 total hospital patients (15 per cent).

Betsi Cadwaladr UHB, in North Wales, is treating 187 people for Covid-19 among its 1,727 total hospital admissions (10 per cent).

And Powys THB is treating eight people for coronavirus, among a total of 126 people in hospital (six per cent).

Hospital data is from Thursday, December 3.