A HOSPITAL has suspended visiting in response to growing coronavirus cases.
Patients being treated at Northampton General Hospital will no longer be able to receive visitors in a ‘difficult decision’ for the trust.
It comes after NHS chiefs today said that further restrictions were not needed, but that changes would be made if Omicron surged further.
Omicron is now responsible for 90 per cent of cases in the UK and has taken over from the Delta variant.
It comes as a string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.
Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.
The Sun’s Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits’ arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.
Northampton General Trust is yet to release an official statement, but updated people on it’s decision via social media.
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In a tweet a representative said that the health, wellbeing and safety of patients and colleagues continues to their top priority.
They added: “We have therefore taken the difficult decision to suspend visiting at the hospital from today.
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“In these limited circumstances visiting will be possible: Patients who are in the last days of life; patients who are receiving a new significant life changing or life limiting diagnosis; a birthing partner accompanying a woman in labour & in the immediate post-natal period.
“A parent or appropriate adult visiting a child; patients suffering mental health issues, such as dementia, a learning disability or autism, where not having visitors will cause the patient distress; critically ill patients in critical care unit, high dependency areas or A&E.
“We will have virtual visiting facilities in place. We apologise for having to take this step as we are fully aware of the impact suspending visiting has on our patients and those close to them. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”
The announcement comes after the number of new Covid cases in Northampton topped 2,000 yesterday.
London boroughs continue to have the highest infection rates, with areas such as Lambeth and Lewisham having recorded closes to 8,000 cases in the seven days to December 25.
A further 19,544 cases of the Omicron variant were reported in the UK yesterday.
Overall Covid cases reached a new record high in the UK yesterday, after 189,213 cases were reported.
As cases continue to rise, NHS leaders have been reassured that despite also witnessing rise in hospital admissions across the UK, the threshold for new rules has not been crossed.
Yesterday, the number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals in England jumped to 11,492 – the highest number since February.
Chris Hopson, the head of NHS Providers, told the BBC: “We know that the government has set a high threshold on introducing extra new restrictions.
“So on that basis, trust leaders can see why the government’s arguing that in the absence of a surge of seriously ill patients coming into hospital, that threshold hasn’t yet been crossed.
“But we still don’t know if the surge will come and indeed we’re exactly talking about the preparations that we’re making or that surge right now.
“So in terms of restrictions, I think we’re in exactly the same place we’ve been in for the last fortnight, which is the government needs to be ready to introduce tighter restrictions at real speed should they be needed.”