Croydon University Hospital is one of the worst hit for coronavirus in London, with 27 deaths at its London Road centre up until yesterday.
One of those infected is Dr Lydia Osei-Boateng who was taken to the hospital by ambulance on March 21, where she was told she has the virus.
She is one of 289 cases in the borough, up until Monday morning, according to the Public Health Authority stats.
But she was struck with how calm the hospital was – and she suspects people who may have normally come to the hospital are staying away.
But she was not admitted to a ward – she was not deemed unwell enough and returned home after six hours.
Many of the people dying from this virus are the elderly or those with underlying health conditions – but it does not mean that young people are not at risk.
And this fact is brought home by what Dr Osei-Boateng was told when she was at the hospital.
She said: “It’s something we’ve never ever dealt with. I never thought I would experience something like this – as a doctor, mother, wife.
“The lady who discharged me said they are getting a lot of young people with coronavirus, she had a 30-year-old asthmatic dying last week, she said there was a 24-year-old coming in when I was there.
“We need to stop the spread, everyone needs to stay home, it is the only way.”
Croydon is London’s second most populated borough after Southwark, with 385,346 residents, according to Croydon council’s director of public health report 2019.
A document from the Croydon Health Services Trust in 2017 described the catchment area as being as big as Bristol.
Croydon has the highest youth population, but also a higher than average population of older people.
It is likely that the pandemic is yet to peak and the hospital is preparing for a surge in cases.
Last week, Elaine Clancy, chief nurse at the trust, said: “In line with national NHS guidance, we are scaling back non-urgent appointments and looking at new ways in which we can run routine appointments with patients by phone or screen.
“We are also dramatically increasing our critical care capacity to provide life-dependent respiratory support to patients when needed.”
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