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Ninewells wards closed as NHS team investigates outbreak in ‘non-Covid’ part of the hospital

Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.
Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

Three ‘non-covid’ wards in Ninewells Hospital have been closed to new admissions and visitors after fears patients there may have contracted the virus.

NHS Tayside’s Infection Prevention and Control Team is investigating “a small number” of cases of Covid-19 in Wards 2, 3 and 19 in the Dundee hospital, a healthboard spokesman has confirmed.

Ward 2 is for patients with stomach and intestine conditions; Ward 3 contains patients with respiratory issues while Ward 19 is for those who have suffered severe injury or other orthopaedic trauma.

All patients in the wards and relevant staff have been offered testing.

The hospital has been divided into two blocks since the start of the pandemic – one focusing on patients with the virus while the other deals with other ailments.

An NHS Tayside spokesman said: “Across Scotland and in Tayside, Covid-19 is circulating more in the community and we are therefore seeing an increasing number of patients requiring hospital treatment.

“The wards are not accepting new admissions and visiting has been temporarily suspended.”

He said all appropriate infection prevention and control measures have been put in place and Public Health Scotland has been informed about the potential outbreak.

“The public should be reassured that NHS Tayside has separate care pathways for patients presenting with Covid-19 symptoms, for urgent presentations and for patients attending for planned procedures or treatments. These pathways are supported by testing for Covid-19,” he said.

“NHS Tayside also provides an asymptomatic staff testing programme in line with Scottish Government guidance which includes weekly asymptomatic staff testing in specialist cancer wards and long term care wards in mental health services.

“Appropriate PPE is provided for all of our staff while they are working in Covid-19 confirmed or suspected patient areas.”

NHS Tayside has made a number of changes to the wards within Ninewells Hospital in response to the outbreak.

For staff and patient safety, the decision was made to split the hospital into two distinct areas.

East Block is for patients who are displaying symptoms, or who have been diagnosed with Covid-19. The West Block is supposed to be for all other patients.

Hospital managers have been praised for being “ahead of the national curve” since the start of the pandemic after setting up a staff testing facility in early March and rapidly setting up the specialist coronavirus block.

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