We’re currently seeing a sharp rise in confirmed cases of flu, Covid and several other viral respiratory infections across our hospitals.
There’s been a big jump in a range of respiratory infections every day at our sites over the past few days, going from 31 confirmed cases on 17th December to 66 cases by 22nd December.
Our infection control team has confirmed that a range of respiratory viruses are now highly likely to be circulating on most if not all wards.
We know how important it is to visit a relative or close friend who is in hospital, particularly at this time of year.
But we ask that if you have any respiratory symptoms or feel under the weather to please postpone your visit until you feel better.
If you have respiratory symptoms, stay home, even if you test negative for Covid. While you may not have Covid, you may have another respiratory virus like flu which you could pass on to a vulnerable patient or member of staff, and make them very poorly.
We are also taking a number of measures to bring down infection rates, and a key one is re-introducing mask-wearing in all our wards, clinical areas and public areas, like corridors and receptions. Please abide by this at all times, and keep your nose and mouth fully covered with a mask or face-covering when in these areas.
Our Director of Public Health, Dr Keith Reid (pictured) said: “We would ask those who are visiting relatives and friends in hospital not to attend our hospitals if they have fever, cough or sniffles to avoid spreading illness among patients.
“While this is a difficult ask, especially at this time of year, it’s vitally important that we do everything we can, together, to minimise flu and Covid in our hospitals.
“Covid and influenza rates are rising in our communities again and will rise further as people continue to mix over the holiday season.
“While Covid vaccination coverage of vulnerable groups is good following the autumn booster campaign the uptake of influenza vaccination has been lower. Vaccination remains available for eligible people through general practice and community pharmacies.”
Please also remember to wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitiser before and after visiting a ward if you do come to visit a relative.
If you do get a respiratory illness, follow simple measures which help to reduce the spread of viruses, like coughing or sneezing into the crook of your elbow, not your hands, and disposing of used tissues in the bin, then wash your hands or use a hand sanitiser.