Coronavirus ‘step down’ facility at Belfast hotel closes

The remaining patients were discharged on Friday. Credit: Press Eye

The Belfast Trust has confirmed the closure of the coronavirus ‘step-down’ facility at the Ramada Hotel.

The hotel, on Talbot Street in Belfast city centre, was transformed in April to be used to provide care for patients recovering from Covid-19.

The trust said over the past two months a total of 56 patients have received care there.

It said the remaining patients were discharged on Friday.

“Although we did not experience the anticipated surge in Covid-19 cases, the facility has proved instrumental in our response to the pandemic,” a spokesperson said.

The facility was staffed by 105 Belfast Trust employees, who were transferred as part of its coronavirus planning.

The trust said it also “engaged with a number of GPs who provided primary health care support”.

The spokesperson continued: “Belfast Trust discharged the remaining patients from its Covid-19 step down facility on 5 June 2020.

“The Ramada Hotel was transformed by Healthcare Ireland to provide sufficient capacity to deliver the highest level of care to our patients recovering from coronavirus.

“This was part of our contingency and surge plan to ensure that the trust was in a position to meet the expected challenges associated with Covid-19.

“Now that the decision to vacate the premises has been taken, costs are being finalised with Healthcare Ireland to reflect costs up to the end of contract as well as any cost to reinstate the building.”

It comes as the Health Department confirmed there had been no new coronavirus-related deaths in Northern Ireland for a second day.

A number of lockdown restrictions were also eased, and the economy minister has announced that shops will be able to reopen on 12 June.

Hotels have been told they can reopen their doors on 20 July, provided the coronavirus infection rate remains under control.