At least 20 coronavirus patients in Exeter's Nightingale hospital as NHS remains 'very busy'

The site has been used in recent months to rollout coronavirus tests.

There are at least 20 people being treated for coronavirus in Exeter's Nightingale Hospital as others in the region "continue to be very busy", according to its Medical Director.

Figures from Public Health England show 12 patients with the virus were admitted to the purpose-built facility when it opened on Thursday 26 November.

Latest data shows there were 20 people in the hospital with Covid-19 on 1 December.

Dr Rob Dyer, Strategic Medical Director for the Nightingale Hospital Exeter, said hospitals in Devon and Cornwall continue to be "very busy" and "are seeing a high demand for urgent care from non-Covid patients."

The hospital is one of seven that was built in England to help the NHS cope with Covid demand.

The 116-bed facility is one of seven in England which was set up earlier this year to help the NHS if capacity became overwhelmed.

Despite it not being used for Covid patients until now, it has been used as a site for the roll-out of nearly 3,000 tests and the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine study.

Dr Dyer said the opening of the Exeter Nightingale, which was built on the site of a former Homebase store, will help the NHS "balance providing care to patients with Covid-19 while also continuing to deliver services for non-Covid patients."

Darryn Allcorn, Strategic Chief Nurse for the hospital, added: "Cases of COVID-19 in the community remain high and we ask that the public continue to observe the Government’s advice on observing the lockdown and social distancing – including hands, face and space – so that we can keep our patients safe.”

Almost 1,000 people with coronavirus are being treated in the West Country's hospitals, the most up-to-date figures show.

In Bristol, which is currently in Tier Three, there are 229 people in hospital with coronavirus.

Those figures are from North Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Southmead Hospital, and University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust - which encompasses Bristol Royal Infirmary and Weston General.

Breakdown of other major West Country hospitals

  • Derriford Hospital - 45

  • Dorset County Hospital - 3

  • Gloucestershire Royal Hospital - 142

  • Great Western Hospital, Swindon - 36

  • Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton - 29

  • North Devon District Hospital - 37

  • Royal Cornwall Hospital - 5

  • Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital - 101

  • Royal United Hospital, Bath - 86

  • Torbay Hospital - 28

  • Yeovil Hospital - 37

The latest figures have been released as the first doses of the recently-approved Pfizer vaccine for the virus have arrived in the UK.

More than 50 NHS England hospitals are ready to start administering the approved Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine from next week.

This includes Gloucestershire Royal, Royal Cornwall, Derriford, Yeovil and Southmead.

Military personnel have also been setting up at Ashton Gate Stadium, home of Bristol City FC and Bristol Bears rugby club, to begin the process of rolling it out.

A report to the University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Trust (UHBW) board estimated up to 110,000 people a week could be vaccinated at the sports ground.

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