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NHS To Build Two More Nightingale Hospitals

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Two NHS Nightingale hospitals are to be built in Bristol and Harrogate, NHS England has announced.

NHS chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens, confirmed that the hospitals will provide up to 1,500 beds.

Such sites are being built to add ‘surge capacity’ to existing hospitals and local services should they need them during the peak of coronavirus.

The University of the West of England in Bristol will have a capacity of 1,000 patients whereas the Harrogate Convention centre will be able to care for up to 500.

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The hospitals will serve their surrounding regions.

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said:

“We’re giving the go ahead to these additional sites, hoping they may not be needing but preparing in case they are. But that will partly depend on continuing public support for measures to reduce growth in the infection rate by staying at home to save lives.”

The announcement comes as London’s NHS Nightingale hospital opens today, the site has a capacity of 3,500 patients and covers 90,000 square meters, the equivalent of roughly a dozen football pitches.

Sir Stevens, said: “It’s nothing short of extraordinary that this new hospital in London has been established from scratch in less than a fortnight.”

“Now we are gearing up to repeat that feat at another four sites across the country to add to the surge capacity in current NHS hospitals.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“The NHS and the military have achieved something extraordinary in setting up NHS Nightingale, London in only a matter of days .It is testament to their hard work and dedication that an additional four hospitals will be rolled out across the nation.”

On Wednesday, the Health Secretary posted a video to social media thanking everyone involved.

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Louisiana Congressman-Elect Luke Letlow Dead From COVID-19

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Luke Letlow, Louisiana’s incoming Republican member of the U.S. House, died Tuesday night from complications related to COVID-19 only days before being sworn into office. He was 41.

Letlow spokesman Andrew Bautsch confirmed the congressman-elect’s death at Ochsner-LSU Health Shreveport.

“The family appreciates the numerous prayers and support over the past days but asks for privacy during this difficult and unexpected time,” Bautsch said in a statement. “A statement from the family along with funeral arrangements will be announced at a later time.”

Louisiana’s eight-member congressional delegation called Letlow’s death devastating.

“Luke had such a positive spirit, and a tremendously bright future ahead of him. He was looking forward to serving the people of Louisiana in Congress, and we were excited to welcome him to our delegation where he was ready to make an even greater impact on our state and our nation,” they said in a statement.

The state’s newest congressman, set to take office in January, was admitted to a Monroe hospital on Dec. 19 after testing positive for the coronavirus disease. He was later transferred to the Shreveport facility and placed in intensive care.

Letlow, from the small town of Start in Richland Parish, was elected in a December runoff election for the 5th District U.S. House seat representing central and northeastern regions of the state, including the cities of Monroe and Alexandria.

He was to fill the seat being vacated by his boss, Republican Ralph Abraham. Letlow had been Abraham’s chief of staff and ran with Abraham’s backing for the job.

Gov. John Bel Edwards urged people to pray for Letlow’s family.

“COVID-19 has taken Congressman-elect Letlow from us far too soon,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. “I am heartbroken that he will not be able to serve our people as a U.S. representative, but I am even more devastated for his loving family.”

Before working for Abraham, Letlow had worked for former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration. Jindal’s one-time chief of staff, Timmy Teepell, described Letlow on Twitter as “a good man with a kind heart and a passion to serve. He loved Louisiana and his family. He was a brother and I’m heart broken he’s gone.”

Letlow is survived by his wife, Julia Barnhill Letlow, and two children.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican and doctor who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year and has since recovered, posted in a Twitter video: “It just, just, just, just brings home COVID can kill. For most folks it doesn’t, but it truly can. So, as you remember Luke, his widow, his children in your prayers, remember as well to be careful with COVID.”

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Oklahoma Health Officials Reject CDC Vaccine Recommendation

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma health officials say they don’t plan to follow all of the newly released federal guidelines for vaccine distribution and will keep adults 65 and older in phase two of the state’s distribution protocol.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines over the weekend to prioritize those aged 75 and older and frontline essential workers in phase two. But Oklahoma Health Commissioner Dr. Lance Frye said in a statement late Wednesday that the state’s advisory committee decided it would be problematic to prioritize young and healthy workers ahead of Oklahomans in the 65-74 age group.

Along with adults 65 and older, the state also plans to prioritize adults of any age with comorbidities, including hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancers or chronic lung, liver or renal diseases. The state estimates there are about 635,000 Oklahomans in these two categories.

Frye says health officials plan to closely monitor the state’s vaccine supply and could consider prioritizing those age 75 and older if supplies and provider access remains limited.

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U.K. government extends national lockdown for at least three more weeks to slow country’s coronavirus outbreak.

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LONDON (AP) — U.K. government extends national lockdown for at least three more weeks to slow country’s coronavirus outbreak.

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