Weston General Hospital in Weston-super-Mare said today it could not take any more admission including into A&E.
It said the move was precautionary to protect staff and patients, but did not give any more details.
The number of patients in hospitals with COVID-19 has been steadily dropping, reducing by 11 per cent in the past week.
It’s not clear why the Somerset hospital appears to have an influx of patients but said hospitals have ‘frequent’ changes in COVID-19 admissions.
The South West has suffered the fewest deaths (1,157) and cases (7,524) during the pandemic.
But social media users were quick to speculate the South West will see a surge in cases as a result of the Government loosening lockdown.
Weston General Hospital in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, has stopped taking new patients due to ‘a high number’ already there with coronavirus
Weston General Hospital said today it could not take any more admission including into A&E
The trust said patients will not be accepted from 8am today (Twitter)
Day-trippers headed to Somerset beaches after Prime Minister Boris Johnson allowed the public to travel to other parts of the country for unlimited exercise and sunbathing. Pictured: Weston-super-Mare beach on May 16 after lockdown was relaxed
There have been 114 deaths at University Hospitals Bristol and three at Weston NHS Foundation Trust – which run Weston General hospital.
The trust said patients will not be accepted from 8am today.
It said there are arrangements in place for new patients to access treatment and care ‘in other appropriate healthcare settings in the area should they need it’.
Dr William Oldfield, medical director at the trust, said: ‘As with any hospital, the number of patients with Covid-19 will frequently change as people are admitted and discharged.
‘We currently have a high number of patients with Covid-19 in Weston General Hospital.
‘Whilst the vast majority will have come into the hospital with Covid-19, as an extra precaution we have taken the proactive step to temporarily stop accepting new patients to maintain patient and staff safety.’
Suspicion of a surge of coronavirus patients in Somerset due to the recent easing in lockdown measures was rife on social media today.
The public are skeptical that VE day street parties three weeks ago may have driven cases up. Typically it would take around 20 days between a person being infected and them needing hospital care.
Others speculate Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent loosening of the lockdown, allowing unlimited exercise and sunbathing from May 11, may have led to a wave of new infections in the South West – or could do in the future.
Thousands of people in England flocked to the South West and other coastal areas as soon as they were told they could travel to other parts of the country.
Day-trippers headed to Somerset beaches with car parks at Dunster and Minehead packed. There was no evidence anyone broke lockdown rules.
But numerous local authorities across the South West urged people not to drive to beaches and beauty spots in fear that large crowds would increase the risk of spreading coronavirus.
Suspicion of a surge of coronavirus patients in Somerset due to the recent easing in lockdown measures was rife on social media today
Mark Canniford, Lib Dem mayor of Weston and member of North Somerset Council, said he thought it was ‘too soon’ for the loosening of lockdown to be showing new cases of coronavirus, but admitted it couldn’t be ruled out
Mark Canniford, Lib Dem mayor of Weston and member of North Somerset Council, criticised the ‘total disregard’ for the town’s residents from day-trippers.
Speaking to The Independent today, Mr Canniford said he did not think there was a link between the crowds on the beach and the closure of Weston General Hospital today.
He said it was ‘unlikely’ and ‘too soon’ for any cases to have shown up. But he admitted ‘you can’t rule it out’.
‘We have been behind the curve on the virus so we could just be catching up,’ he said.
‘The people you see roaming about don’t tend to live here. People should not be roaming around. It’s not fair to the communities they are roaming to. People seem to think they don’t have symptoms so they’re ok but it’s not.’
There are currently 8,951 people in hospital with COVID-19 across UK hospitals, with admissions slowing in the past few weeks.
Some areas have recovered quicker than others, graphs show. London has seen a more drastic decline in hospital patients than the South West and East of England.
Dr Oldfield said: ‘This is a clinically led decision and we are being supported by our system partners to ensure that new patients receive the care and treatment they need in the appropriate setting, and we are continuing to provide high-quality care to existing patients who are being treated in the hospital.
‘We have a robust coronavirus testing programme in place for patients and staff to identify cases quickly, with appropriate measures taken by clinical teams as required.
‘We will keep the situation under constant review.’
The number of patients in hospitals with COVID-19 has been steadily dropping, reducing by 11 per cent in the past week