Ulster Hospital closes two wards after Covid outbreaks

The Ulster Hospital has been forced to close two wards because of Covid-19 outbreaks, the South Eastern HSC Trust has confirmed.

It is understood that both patients and staff at the site on the outskirts of east Belfast are affected.

In a statement, the Trust said: "Over the past month, 96 patients have tested positive on admission to the Ulster Hospital. 16 other patients have tested positive during their stay."

They confirmed that, while non-Covid patients may be admitted to wards designated for Covid positive patients, they remain segregated and other infection control measures are in place.

They continued: "All patients are risk assessed on admission and prior to placement and are kept under review during their stay. This includes regular testing, as per the PHA guidance."

In a post on social media, the South Eastern Trust described the hospital as being "under extreme pressure."

They said: "There are over 150 patients waiting in our [Emergency Department], including 50 patients on trolleys."

It comes as a further eight patients who had previously tested positive for Covid-19 in Northern Ireland have died.

Another 1,039 cases of the virus were also notified by the Department of Health.

On Friday morning, there were 342 Covid-positive patients in hospital, of whom 33 were in intensive care.

A total of 2,526,802 vaccines have been administered in total.