In her update to the Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, Nuala O’Kane said she was at the centre during the “poignant and emotional” one-minute silence on the anniversary of the first UK lockdown.
Chief executive Patricia Davies wrote that local infection rates have “fallen sharply” from their January peak, probably because of lockdown restrictions and vaccinations, but added it is “too early” to know whether the re-opening of schools on March 8 had any impact.
In her first report as chief, she added that the reduced demand at Shropcom sites has allowed staff who were redeployed to fight the pandemic to return to their normal roles.
Ms O’Kane wrote: “Covid vaccination has proceeded at great speed across the region.
“I myself have been volunteering at a vaccination centre and have witnessed the brilliant teamwork of staff from different organisations working together alongside the fire service, local authority staff, volunteers and others to deliver the vaccine with efficiency and professionalism – truly an inspiring operation.
“I happened to be at the vaccination centre for the minute’s silence on the day of reflection [Tuesday, March 23].
“It was very poignant and emotional, and I felt honoured to share the moment with colleagues and partners.”
Ms Davies acknowledged an expected slowdown in vaccine supply during April, but added the trust is “confident we will be able to deliver vaccines to all the top nine categories – all over-50s and the clinically vulnerable – as well as meeting our second dose commitments”.
She said: “Local Covid-19 infection rates have fallen sharply from a peak in January, in line with the national position.
“This is likely to be a combination of the impact of lockdown measures and the success of the vaccination programme.
“At the time of writing it is too early to be able to detect any potential impact of the return to schools and other easing of lockdown measures.”
She said the reduced infection rates have reduced coronavirus-related demand on NHS services in Shropshire and nationwide, leaving Shropcom with no Covid-positive patients in its beds by March 19. Staff absences due to virus-symptoms and self-isolation have also fallen.
“As a result of this reduction in pressures we have been able to bring back staff who had been redeployed into their usual roles,” said Ms Davies.
Shropcom runs services around the county including Bridgnorth and Ludlow hospitals, Bishops Castle and Whitchurch community hospitals and Oswestry Health Centre. Its board is due to meet remotely on Thursday, April 1.