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Mask wearing reintroduced in our hospitals

Northampton and Kettering general hospitals have reintroduced mask-wearing for all staff, patients and visitors, because of a significant increase in Covid-19 infections from July 12.

The reintroduction, in all areas of the two hospitals, aims to reduce infection risk to vulnerable patients and help prevent staff absences.

In May Covid-19 infections had dropped to as-low-as 15 beds occupied across the two hospitals. (NGH -8 beds - KGH -7 beds)

But now that combined figure has risen to 136 (NGH-68 beds- KGH-68 beds) and the number of staff at the two hospitals who are absent because of Covid-19 infection or isolation has risen to about 200 – one of the highest levels since February (2022).

Kettering and Northampton general hospital’s Chief Operating Officers, Faye Gordon, and Palmer Winstanley, in a joint statement said:

“The UK is now experiencing a very significant spike in Covid-19 cases and the current variants are very infectious.

“As a result we are asking all patients and visitors attending our departments to please wear a mask.

“Clearly hospitals have many hundreds of patients who already severely ill, and in significantly at-risk groups, and we must do our utmost to protect them from Covid-19.

“We understand that wearing masks, particularly in the current warm weather, is challenging, but it is very important to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“Throughout the pandemic we have been very impressed by the way our local community has supported our hospitals and followed our infection control arrangements. We urge them to continue to do so by wearing masks and helping to keep everyone safe.”

Some exemptions to mask wearing still apply, as they have done throughout the pandemic, for young children, people with learning difficulties or mental health issues, and people with certain health conditions – such as severe asthma.

Other actions local people can take to support their hospitals at this difficult time include:

· Please continue to wash your hands regularly before, during, and after, attending hospital and follow staff instructions relevant to the area being attended.

· Only going to A&E where this is absolutely necessary and using alternatives such as GP telephone appointments, pharmacies, Corby Urgent Care Centre or NHS 111.

· Don’t unnecessarily accompany someone to hospital unless your presence is vital for their safety. We have limited socially distanced waiting facilities and cannot allow these to become unnecessarily crowded.

· Please attend your appointments on time – but not too much before time. If you arrive too early you will be making waiting areas more crowded than they need to be.

Posted on Tuesday 12th July 2022
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