Covid patients at Gorleston’s James Paget University Hospital (JPUH) have fallen, despite bed occupancy remaining high.

Jonathan Barber, the hospital’s director of strategy and transformation, said: “The good news is the number of Covid positive patients is continuing to fall.

“At 6am this morning, we only had 18 in the trust, [and] none in ICU.”

This represents a significant fall since March, when the trust reported that Covid patients had “plateaued” at 50.

The update was given at a Wednesday (May 11) meeting of the JPUH’s council of governors, at which Mr Barber also said visitor rules had been eased. One visitor is now allowed per day per patient, by appointment only.

He added however: “We are running quite hot as a trust, in terms of overall bed occupancy - today it’s at 98pc, very challenging.”

Due to pressures in the hospital’s emergency department, the JPUH remains at OPEL 4 - the most pressured status within which a hospital can work.

To help ease the pressure, Mr Barber said, a study is to be carried out to see how patients can be more efficiently discharged, to free up bed space.