Hillingdon Hospital, England closes A&E after new outbreak of coronavirus
Hillingdon Hospital, in west London, has closed its doors to emergency admissions due to an outbreak of coronavirus among staff.
Around 70 members of staff are now isolating. A spokesman for Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘An outbreak of Covid-19 was declared on Friday, July 3, 2020. ‘As of Tuesday, July 7, 70 members of staff are now isolating, a number of whom have tested positive for Covid-19.
As a result, the trust has taken the precautionary decision to close Hillingdon Hospital to emergency ambulances and emergency admissions. The trust is managing the outbreak in line with Public Health England guidance.’
The hospital is in Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s constituency, and he previously praised staff for helping to remove a ‘shard of coffee pot’ from his foot. It is not clear how long A&E will remain closed.
Ambulances began being diverted away from the hospital from last night, although ‘walk in’ casualty patients were still being seen today.
The outbreak is believed to have started on one ward, which looks after eight patients at a time. Other departments in the hospital, including maternity, remain open for use.
Trust chief executive, Sarah Tedford said in a message to staff today: ‘A number of our staff in one area of Hillingdon hospital have either tested positive for Covid-19 or are self-isolating as a precaution.
‘A number of immediate actions are being taken to limit the spread of the infection, including enhanced cleaning, reviewing infection control procedures, reinforcing hand hygiene and reinforcing social distancing.
‘I am treating this situation with the utmost seriousness. As a result, the trust has taken the decision to close Hillingdon hospital to emergency ambulances and emergency admissions.
This will be reviewed on a daily basis.’ Professor Kevin Fenton, London regional director for Public Health England, said they are supporting the hospital through the outbreak.
He continued: ‘Together with the trust’s management, the local authority public health team and the Joint Biosecurity Centre, PHE’s role is to provide advice on actions that can limit the spread of infection including enhanced cleaning, reviewing infection control practices and reinforcing hand hygiene and social distancing.
‘Overall, levels of coronavirus across London boroughs, including Hillingdon, remain low and steady.
This incident is currently isolated to the hospital with no indication of wider community transmission, however we remain vigilant and are carefully monitoring the situation.’