Sandwell Hospital 'prepared' for increase in coronavirus patients
Bosses at Sandwell Hospital say they are prepared for the event of a sudden increase in patients should coronavirus cases continue to rise in the borough.
Sandwell is one of the main UK hotspots following a surge in Covid-19 cases over recent weeks which has left public health officials scrambling to try to prevent the spread.
They have said a local lockdown is not expected this week but insist one will be enforced if necessary.
Employers have been urged to inform the borough council of any cases among their workforce amid concerns the virus is spreading among workers.
Sandwell has set up its own test and trace system in a bid to track as many Covid cases as possible.
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The borough's director of public health, Dr Lisa McNally, said the new system was "working well". Staff have been brought in from other departments to help run it.
Dr David Carruthers, medical director at the Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, which runs Sandwell General, said it was "well prepared" for an increase in patients and urged the public to continue following guidance around hand-washing and social distancing.
He said all patients attending the hospital were being checked for symptoms.
Dr Carruthers said: “We are aware of increased cases in Sandwell and are working closely with partners to manage our services safely during this time and support patients in the community who need our help.
"We are well prepared for any increases in attendance at hospital for those who display symptoms and have clear pathways to safely treat these patients. We would continue to urge people to strictly follow social distancing guidance with frequent hand-washing to minimise the spread of the virus.
“We carry out an assessment of all patients prior to and upon arrival to check if they have symptoms.
"When they need to be seen, we ensure that the patients and staff are wearing the right PPE; including face masks, gloves, aprons and visors, where necessary. We educate patients in the correct way to wear PPE and about social distancing.
“Our staff observe social distancing and we have frequent and thorough cleaning in place, which is especially important between each and every patient.”
A McDonald's restaurant on Brickhouse Lane South, Great Bridge, Tipton, was closed this week after five members of staff tested positive for Covid-19 in the latest signal of the virus' spread in the borough.
Figures showed that in the week to July 24 there were 27.2 cases per 1,000 people in Sandwell and 12.2 in Wolverhampton, where there is also concern about a rising infection rate.
This compares to just 7.4 in Walsall and 3.1 in Dudley.