People urged to stay away if they have Covid as Devon’s hospitals remain under severe pressure

(Last Updated On: March 7, 2022)

“Please don’t visit friends and family in our hospitals if you have Covid or other illnesses” – that’s the message from Devon’s NHS, as the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 remains high.

Many of the restrictions brought in to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in the community have come to an end, but people are still required to wear a mask in health settings and are being asked to wash and sanitise their hands.

And anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 or other illnesses that can spread easily, such as flu or norovirus, is urged not to visit patients in hospital.

Hospital trusts in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay are continuing to maintain enhanced infection prevention and control measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and health bosses are asking the public to play their part. The continued high level of infection in the community means patients are at risk of catching Covid-19 from visitors.

Dr Paul Johnson, NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group Chair and Devon Medical Director said: “Many of our patients are very vulnerable to infection and we need to keep them safe. If you are unwell with Covid, flu or norovirus please do not come into hospital.

“You are still required to wear a mask in health settings and we ask that you respect these rules and are patient with our volunteers and staff if they ask you to comply with them.

“We know visits from friends and family can play a role in helping patients recover so we want to maintain good access for visitors – but we need local people to do their bit by staying away if they are ill, and taking safety measures if they visit.”

Currently over 200 people are in hospital in Devon with Covid-19, which means that beds aren’t available for other patients who need them. For each Covid-19 inpatient the NHS in Devon postpones, on average, eight planned procedures.

Where possible, patients should attend appointments alone. People who want to visit a friend or family member in hospital should check the trust’s website for the latest visitor guidance.

As it continues to experience high demand in hospital Emergency Departments (ED), the NHS is also asking people to choose the right service for their needs:

• Keep the Emergency Department (Accident and Emergency) for emergencies. If your condition is not an emergency, choose a different service. You may have to wait a bit longer for treatment if it isn’t urgent.
• Use your local pharmacist for minor conditions such as insect bites, ear ache, skin rashes.
• Use the HANDi paediatric app for advice on common childhood illnesses
• Use NHS 111 – online or by phone if you need advice or medical treatment quickly and can’t wait to see your GP. If you need to be seen by a Minor Injuries or Emergency Department they can book you in.
• Get vaccinated against Covid
• Covid-19 is still very much here so continue to maintain good hygiene, especially hand hygiene, to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
• Collect friends or family members from hospital as soon as possible when they are ready to leave. It means their bed can be given to the next person who needs it.

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