Hospital staff 'pushed to the limit' in the Welsh town with the UK's highest Covid rate

Staff at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend have told ITV Wales they're being 'pushed to the limit' - as the town records the highest Covid-19 rate in the UK.

The A&E department at the the hospital is working at full stretch due to the number of coronavirus cases, but staff say this isn't just an issue for this department alone.

They say 70 per cent of patients in the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend are Covid-related, with many of them lying in beds on wards.

Critical care matron Sophie O'Donovan told ITV News: "It takes fives years to train a critical care nurse. We can't just pull people from other departments to be able to care for these people to the standard we would expect.

"It's scary... we are pushing our staff to the limit and even my most experienced team are finding it challenging; physically and psychologically."

On Friday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said there is currently no evidence that the news strain of coronavirus is causing a more serious illness, but that it is adding to the pressure the NHS is experiencing at the moment.

The First Minister said: "More than 2,700 coronavirus-related patients are being cared for in Welsh hospitals today and there are now 143 people with coronavirus in critical care beds.

"Overall, the number of people in critical care has reached the highest point in the pandemic. The new strain is adding a dangerous dimension to the pandemic."

The First Minister also announced on Friday that level 4 lockdown restrictions in Wales will be strengthened, with schools and colleges remaining closed until February half-term if the number of Covid-19 cases do not fall.