Dr Boleslaw Posmyk, chair of Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) governing body and a GP in Hartlepool and Darlington, reported Omicron infection rates had been “far higher than previous waves”.
However, addressing the panel’s latest meeting, he added this has been offset due to “a lot of the population” receiving a Covid-19 booster jab, easing pressures on health systems.
Dr Posmyk said: “Fortunately the number of patients needing hospitalisation, despite being high, have been manageable by the system.
“Crucially the number of people needing critical care has not been as high as had been feared at the start of this wave.”
He thanked everyone who helped “play their part” in the pandemic response, including health providers and the public who have had vaccines, worn face coverings, taken lateral flows, followed social distancing and more.
Dr Posmyk said: “All of this has helped to prevent the current situation from being significantly more challenging.”
He also acknowledged the “sheer number of people infected” and the “significant numbers” needing to isolate had produced “significant problems” in delivery of services due to staffing shortages, much like other sectors.
Dr Janet Walker, medical director at the CCG, added the “herculean effort” of administering vaccines has greatly helped manage the “perfect storm” of the Omicron surge, but warned the pandemic is still ongoing.
She said: “The pressures are now improving but the challenges do still remain significant.
“Things do appear to be getting a little bit easier now and hopefully that will continue to be the case as long as we continue to take the appropriate steps that we are required to.
“Unfortunately we know that the pandemic is not over, Omicron is still around as are the other variants and you cannot assume it won’t impact on yourself”.
She added there remain a “significant number of residents” in the Tees Valley yet to be vaccinated and urged them to come forward, along with encouraging people to continue to receive booster vaccinations.