Report by Helen Ford
Wearing face masks has become mandatory again in hospitals in the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust area.
This comes under a month after the measure was scrapped.
It is being reinstated amid a rise in Covid cases on Friday 8 July.
The Trust said it had 64 in-patients with the virus on 30 June, up from 11 on 1 June.
In-patients will be asked to wear a mask while in bed and while away from their bed space if this can be tolerated, and out-patients will need to wear masks throughout their consultation or treatment.
People visiting friends and family will be required to wear a mask while on the ward and are reminded to book a visiting appointment.
The rule applies to the University Hospital of North Tees, University Hospital of Hartlepool and Peterlee Community Hospital.
Karen Sheard, deputy chief nurse, said: "We all hoped we would never have to make this decision.
"Covid-19 remains a serious threat and we cannot and will not compromise the safety of our patients and colleagues.
"We ask everyone to do their bit by wearing a mask when visiting our hospitals."