So far in November, 51 people with coronavirus being treated in the county’s hospitals have lost their lives.
Thirty-one of these deaths (60%) occurred at Medway Maritime Hospital, according to NHS England statistics.
Meanwhile, the number of hospital patients with coronavirus across the county continues to soar.
On October 10, there were 14 Covid patients in Kent’s hospitals. By November 10, this had risen to 221.
The numbers have surged since the start of this month.
There were 118 patients on November 3 – but this rose 87% within a week.
The starkest increase has been at Medway Maritime Hospital where patient numbers soared from 52 to 93 in just seven days.
This week hospital bosses sought to reassure patients there are systems to isolate coronavirus and ensure routine treatments can continue.
At Medway, this includes temperature checks on arrival, mandatory face coverings for all visitors, staff, outpatients and inpatients, hand sanitising stations and special “green zones” which allows patients to be pre-screened before entering for their surgical procedure and restrictions in the use of waiting areas to allow social distancing.
Visiting wards has been banned across the hospital site with only exceptional circumstances allowing anyone not attending an appointment to enter the building.
Chief executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust James Devine said: “Our absolute priority continues to be the safety of patients and staff, and to ensure that the NHS is not overwhelmed in the coming months.
“We have made robust preparations to be able to manage winter pressures alongside any surge in the number of patients admitted with Covid-19, and we continue to work closely with all our partners across the health and social care system to ensure we have capacity to deal with peak levels of demand.
“It’s extremely important that cases in the community decrease, as we know that hospital admissions tend to be some weeks behind the rate of infection in the community.
“Our community can help us by following national guidance, wearing a face covering in enclosed public spaces, social distancing and regular hand washing.”
Mr Devine assured residents the hospital is doing everything it can to ensure regular services continue and said patients should attend hospital for procedures or appointments “as normal”.
The Gillingham facility is the biggest hospital in Kent, serving a population of more than 424,000 across Medway and Swale.
Since the start of the pandemic, 235 Covid deaths have been recorded by the Medway NHS Foundation Trust.
Meanwhile, the East Kent Hospitals Trust, which runs the William Harvey in Ashford, the QEQM in Margate and the Kent & Canterbury, has recorded 483 deaths. Fourteen of those patients have died this month.
There have been 252 coronavirus deaths at Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, with two recorded this month.
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust has recorded 137 Covid deaths, including four in November.
At the same time as Covid-19 patients and deaths are rising in the county, so is the number of healthcare staff off work because of the virus.
On November 4, figures show 363 employees were forced to miss work for Covid-related reasons – mainly through sickness or self-isolation.
This is number is 77% higher than on October 4.
The impact of the second wave on the NHS in Kent is being felt amid a huge spike in Covid-19 cases across the county.
Figures show there were 3,120 positive tests in Kent in the week up to November 9 – a rise of 55.5% on the week before.
In the same week, 601 people tested positive in Medway – an increase of 31.5%.
But while infection rates are much higher than during the first wave – largely due to increased testing – the number of people becoming seriously ill with the virus remains comparably low.
Hospital patient numbers were 570 on April 20, compared to 221 on November 10.
The number of those on a ventilator hit a peak of 92 on April 16, but this month stood at 10.
And while 21 people tragically lost their lives with the virus in the week up to November 8, this figure is well below the highest weekly total of 187 at the start of April.
Staff absence also remains comparably low, with 2,192 employees off work because of the virus at the peak of the first wave.
Speaking on Monday, Wilf Williams, who is in charge of the NHS response to coronavirus across the county, said: “At this point we’re in a relatively good position in Kent and Medway, but the number of hospital admissions for Covid patients has increased and we expect that to continue in the weeks ahead.
“We certainly can’t be complacent and we would urge the public to play their part.
“We need infection rates in the community to decrease, as we know that hospital admissions follow a trend that is a few weeks behind infection rates in the wider community.
“In mid-April, we had to rapidly convert other space such as theatres and recovery areas, which meant other treatments had to be stopped, but we are doing everything we can to avoid that happening again.
“Our aim is very much to keep treatment going for both Covid and non-Covid patients.
“We now have a better understanding of Covid-19 so can treat the virus more effectively with more appropriate drugs.
“We therefore do not expect as many patients will need to be put on ventilators this time around.”