Hertfordshire and west Essex health chief Jane Halpin has highlighted the “considerable uncertainty” around Covid levels, in the face of changes such as the return to school and the weather.

In a written report to the Integrated Care System partnership board on Tuesday (September 14), Dr Halpin updated officials on current Covid-19 infection rates, hospital admissions and vaccinations.

And she acknowledged: “There is considerable uncertainty about the likely impact of current changes such as schools returning and autumn weather.”

According to Dr Halpin’s report, the rates of Covid infection have been higher in recent weeks.

However the report does acknowledge that the proportion of patients requiring hospital admission is lower than in earlier ‘peaks’.

The average number of cases in the ICS’s three acute hospitals – the Lister, Watford General Hospital and the Princess Alexandra – is now reported to be in excess of 70 on any given day.

And according to the report, around half of those admitted with Covid have been unvaccinated.

The report says that vaccinations have continued ‘to be successfully rolled out’ to younger age groups.

And it points to the preparations being made to vaccinate new groups – such as clinically vulnerable 12 to 15-year-olds – and for a potential booster programme.

Meanwhile, Dr Halpin’s report says that ‘urgent care demands’ remain ‘very high’ across all sectors and services – including primary care, mental health care, acute care, ambulance and 111 services.

And although she reports that there has been ‘continued progress’ in restoring elective and other services, the report says the position remains  ‘finely balanced’.

The report highlights the need to respond to covid and acute or unscheduled demands, while addressing increased numbers of patients waiting for care and ensuring that staff health and well-being is maintained.