HOSPITAL chiefs have confirmed that the York region currently has no confirmed cases of the Omicron variant.

York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said it has 42 confirmed non-Omicron Covid-19 cases, five per cent of its overall acute bed base.

The trust said it has been operating two Covid-19 positive wards in York Hospital and one in Scarborough in recent months, standing down one such York ward at the start of December due to a drop in Covid cases.

A spokesman said: “We will of course keep this under review and our surge plans remain in place should we need to increase our Covid-19 beds again. Many of the things we will need to do to manage another wave, should that happen, such as isolating and testing patients, and creating separate areas for infected and non-infected patients, are already firmly established and have been well tested.”

The trust, like the rest of the NHS, continues to face “a sustained high level of pressure across every sector”, with activity back at pre-pandemic levels, with a “significant increase” in A&E numbers since 2019.

“We are making huge efforts to tackle the backlog of patients needing planned treatment. But our ability to carry out pre-pandemic levels of non-Covid-19 activity is restricted by the ongoing need for Covid-related infection prevention measures such as social distancing. The current pressures on our bed base inevitably place our elective work at risk.”