LOCAL hospitals were treating 48 coronavirus patients using mechanical ventilation at the time latest figures were published, as the number of people needing breathing assistance increased over the second half of the month.

Before the 17th of January, local hospitals had only had more than 40 patients in mechanical ventilation beds on three separate days since the pandemic began.

Since January, however, the number has consistently been above 40.

On Friday, January 22, local hospitals were treating 51 patients using mechanical ventilation — the greatest number recorded so far.

Ventilators are used to support patients suffering from the worst effects of coronavirus.

They help people breathe when the patient is struggling to do so themselves.

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Healthcare data relating to Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust — which runs Heatherwood hospital in Ascot, Frimley Park hospital near Camberley and Wexham Park hospital in Slough — also shows how many patients are currently being treated at these sites.

As of Tuesday, January 26, the three hospitals were looking after 561 patients who had tested positive for Covid-19.

Since the start of the pandemic, the NHS Trust has treated 3,847 coronavirus patients.

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Frimley’s neighbours to the west are treating fewer people for coronavirus at some of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust’s hospitals.

This Trust, which runs Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, Townlands Memorial Hospital in Henley and West Berks Community Hospital in Thatcham, was treating 241 coronavirus patients as of January 26.

So far, it has treated 1,989 patients over the course of the pandemic.

Of the covid-19 patients currently in Royal Berkshire NHS Trust hospitals, 30 were in mechanical ventilation beds.