Staff at a West Yorkshire hospital have said they “can’t see an end” to the cycle of people being admitted with coronavirus.
Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield has more than 300 Covid-19 patients – twice as many as it saw during the peak of the first wave in April.
The NHS hospital expects to see a “dramatic increase” in intensive care patients in the next fortnight.
Medics have appealed for the public to keep following lockdown rules.
On 10 November, there were 2,221 patients in hospitals across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire with Covid-19, the highest total seen throughout the pandemic.
Wakefield had 510 cases of the virus per 100,000 people in the week of 5-11 November, a rate more than double the England average.
Neil Allan, clinical lead at the hospital’s intensive care unit, said: “We’re all struggling a little bit, we’re working a lot longer hours, working a lot of night shifts just to try to cover the service.
“There’s an ever-increasing number of patients coming through the hospital and within two weeks or so they end up filtering through to intensive care.”
He added: “At the moment we can’t really see an end to what’s happening.”
The number of high-dependency beds at the hospital has been doubled to treat people with breathing difficulties, with doctors aiming to keep as many people on non-invasive ventilation as possible.
Tracey Spacey, a critical care nurse, described the situation as “extremely challenging”.
“Staff are exhausted, we’ve had staff deployed from other areas to help us, and we’re extremely grateful,” she said.
“I have every confidence that the patients get the care they require, what I’m slightly less confident about is the resilience of the staff to get through this second wave and further on.”