A Somerset hospital that stopped taking new patients due to high numbers with coronavirus now has an “emerging picture” of staff with no symptoms testing positive for Covid-19, writes Aine Fox.

Weston General Hospital in Weston-super-Mare has not been accepting new admissions since 8am on Monday “to maintain patient and staff safety”.

All inpatients have been tested for the virus and there is “appropriate segregation in place for patient care”, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust said in an update on Tuesday evening.

Trust medical director Dr William Oldfield said they are in the process of testing all staff in clinical areas at the hospital who may have had some patient contact.

He said: “There are currently a high number of patients with coronavirus in the hospital. We have tested all inpatients and will undertake retesting in line with national guidance, and we have appropriate segregation in place for patient care.

“Testing for symptomatic staff and household contacts has been offered across the trust since the beginning of April.

“In addition, there is an emerging picture of asymptomatic staff testing positive for the virus.

“Any members of staff who have tested positive have self-isolated in line with national guidance. We are also in the process of testing all staff in clinical areas at the hospital who may have had some patient contact.”

He said there are “appropriate levels” of personal protective equipment (PPE) available and added that “there have been significant efforts to minimise unnecessary staff movements across the hospital”.

Dr Oldfield added that people needing care are currently being provided for in other settings as they work to reopen their A&E department “as soon as possible”.

He said: “Well-established arrangements are in place for any emergency referrals to Weston to go to other healthcare providers, new patients continue to have access to treatment and care in other appropriate healthcare settings in the area should they need it, and we are contacting patients who have planned appointments to discuss alternative arrangements.

“We are continuing to take the necessary steps with the aim of reopening the A&E department and accepting new patients as soon as possible.”