Coronavirus outbreak at North Devon District Hospital sees patients quarantined, says memo obtained by ITV News

A Covid-19 ward has now been opened and several patients are in quarantine.

North Devon District Hospital is dealing with an outbreak of coronavirus and a number of patients have been quarantined, according to a memo shared with ITV West Country.

Members of staff at the hospital in Barnstaple received a letter from bosses on Thursday 15 October, confirming that there are now seven confirmed cases of the virus there.

The memo read, "Following our update yesterday regarding an increase in Covid-19 cases at NDDH we can now confirm that there has been transmission of the virus at NDDH. We currently have seven confirmed cases."

In order to manage the outbreak, a dedicated coronavirus ward (the Tarka ward) has been opened and is closed to visitors.

A number of patients have been quarantined and a contact tracing process is underway, according to Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust.

The memo also tells staff members that elective surgery will continue as those admitted to hospital are only allowed in once they have testing negative for the virus.

ITV West Country asked the health trust to respond to the leaked note and this is what they said:

“Thanks to everyone’s efforts Northern Devon has been fortunate to see low rates of COVID-19 in our community. However as in other parts of the country we are now seeing aresurgence of infections.

“We have learned a lot from the first wave and continue to use this knowledge andpracticing thorough infection prevention and controls to keep staff and patients safe.We are well prepared to handle an increase in COVID-19 cases in Northern Devonand have robust plans in place to manage winter pressures alongside.

“I’d like to reassure our patients that their safety is our top priority, and they areencouraged to keep their appointments.

“The continued threat of COVID-19 is real and we ask everyone to please carry onfollowing the rules: Hands, Face, Space. Please don’t ignore symptoms, in yourselfor in your household. We all need to look after ourselves and each other.”