Hospital trust issues mask plea amid concerns over third wave of Covid infections hitting Hartlepool
Hospital chiefs have appealed to people to continue wearing face masks ahead of Monday’s relaxing of the rules.
Staff, patients and visitors at the University Hospital of North Tees, University Hospital of Hartlepool and Peterlee Community Hospital will still be required to wear masks and face coverings and adhere to physical distancing measures at all times.
The trust has also appealed to people to continue wearing masks while shopping or taking part in busy social events.
It comes as all remaining Covid-19 restrictions in England – including wearing face masks in most public places – are being relaxed from Monday, July 19.
Chief nurse Lindsey Robertson said: “We wish things could be different but the simple fact is Covid-19 remains a very real threat.
“We’re all seeing the same news items talking about increasing numbers of infections, even among people who have been vaccinated.
“Protecting our patients and keeping our staff healthy so they can support the public are our absolute priorities.
“We’re appealing to everyone to wear a mask when they come into our hospitals and not put our colleagues in the awkward position of having to ask them to comply with our infection control processes.”
Visiting patients will be limited mainly to children, one birth-partner or end of life patients.
Chief nurse Lindsey Robertson has added concerns about a third surge in coronavirus infections remain.
She said: “We all want to return to normal, but we’re asking everyone to voluntarily continue wearing masks while shopping and taking part in other social events.
“To be frank, we are very concerned about a third surge in Covid-19 cases overwhelming our hospitals, pushing our staff to their limits and resulting in other appointments and procedures having to be cancelled again.
“NHS staff all over the country have been touched by the support of the public during the pandemic. The best way they can keep supporting us right now is to do all they can to reduce the chances of COVID-19 infections in the community.
“Please keep wearing your masks, maintain a safe distance from other people, avoid large crowds and regularly wash your hands. Please keep doing your bit in the fight against this deadly pandemic.”
The plea comes as Hartlepool recorded the second steepest rise in weekly infections in England.