A hospital in Hartlepool has suspended all elective surgery for at least 48 hours following an outbreak of coronavirus.
The move, effective from Wednesday, means all elective surgery at the hospital will be suspended for at least 48 hours.
It comes as the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 in the UK increased by 56% in a week, according to the latest data from the test and trace scheme.
Deputy medical director Chris Tulloch said: “We have not taken this decision lightly. First and foremost, the safety of both our patients and our staff must come above and beyond everything else. This precaution, we hope will give minimal disruption to our elective surgery activity.
“We are currently at over 100% of our planned activity and way above the national guidelines for trusts during the recovery phase of the pandemic.”
The trust said at this stage the origin of the positive test is unknown, but Tulloch added: “Our staff continue to be dedicated to all of the guidance surrounding social distancing and PPE [personal protective equipment].
“Such is the nature of the virus, it may well have been contracted outside of the organisation, but in the spirit of openness and honesty – with which we always operate, immediate action must be taken to prevent further spread. We hope our communities support and understand our actions.”
He urged people to continue to adhere to national guidance on limiting the spread of coronavirus, saying: “The virus is still very much amongst us. It is still exceptionally contagious, and lives will continue to be lost if we don’t adhere to the hands, face, space directive.
“We are of course in a new phase regards tackling it, but we can ill afford to be complacent now after so much hard work to date.”
Any patients with planned surgery at the hospital have been urged to contact their consultant’s secretary for an update.
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