Coronavirus: Hospital visiting restrictions to stay in Norfolk – for now
Visiting restrictions are to remain in place for now at Norfolk's hospitals amid the current surge in coronavirus infections.
Health chiefs say the move, announced this afternoon, is necessary to protect both patients and staff, but will be reviewed again in two weeks' time.
The limits on visiting apply to all inpatient wards, other than acute mental health units run by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
There are also exceptions for patients receiving end of life care, maternity services, children and patients with mental health issues such as dementia, a learning disability or autism.
The decision comes as latest figures for West Norfolk showed there were 1,560 new Covid infections in West Norfolk during the seven days to yesterday – an increase of more than 61 per cent on the previous week.
No new Covid-related deaths have been recorded at Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital in today's figures.
But, on Tuesday, bosses at the Gayton Road site revealed they were now caring for 120 patients with coronavirus – their highest number since May 2020 and their staff awards will now take place virtually tomorrow night.
Cath Byford, chief nurse for the NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG, said this afternoon: “We know that continuing to extend restrictions on visiting will be disappointing and it is not a decision we have taken lightly.
“We understand how important the support of family and friends can be for patients in their recovery while they are in hospital, however, our number one priority is to keep everyone – patients, visitors, and staff – safe.
“Exceptions will continue to be made on compassionate grounds, on a case-by-case basis. These visits must be pre-arranged with the ward team in charge.
“Restricting visiting is always a very last resort for us. We appreciate the co-operation of our patients and their families during this challenging time and we will monitor and review this guidance in a fortnight and will keep the public informed of any changes.
Mrs Byford added: “We continue to encourage local people to help us by continuing to use infection prevention practices by washing your hands and wearing face coverings in all healthcare settings.
“We know that COVID-19 hasn’t gone away so it is so important we continue to follow these prevention methods.”