Coronavirus hospital wards braced to reopen in THREE weeks amid infection surge fears

CORONAVIRUS hospital wards are braced to reopen in THREE weeks amid fears of a second wave.

Nightingale Hospitals could accept new patients to cope with rising infectionswith wards being unofficially told the measures will be needed from October 2.

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It comes as the R rate hit 1.7 on Friday after cases doubled in just a week. Health bosses say the rate should ideally stay below 1.

A consultant told the Sunday Mirror: “Plans are in place for Covid wards to be reopened to cope with a fast-rising rate of infections.

“More people are going back to work, schools are open and more people are socialising in spite of the new restrictions. We have to be ready.”

An NHS England spokesperson said the seven Nightingales, established to support the NHS during the first wave of the virus, "are on Covid standby".

Yesterday cases rose by 3,947 in the biggest Saturday increase for four months. There were nine deaths.

And 4.5 million vulnerable people may be told to self-isolate at home again, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

Officials hit the drawing board to devise a plan to tailor shielding advice based on factors including underlying health conditions, sex, weight and age.

Letters with specific advice will be sent out to those at risk.

Care home bosses have also been put on alert following a rise in cases with outbreaks detected in 43 homes, The Sunday Times reported.

An official Department of Health report revealed the number of cases quadrupled since the start of the month.

Care bosses were warned to "take the necessary action to prevent and limit outbreaks" in a letter sent out on Friday.

Director of adult social care delivery at the Department of Health Stuart Miller wrote: "You will know already that we are experiencing a rise in confirmed Covid-19 cases, across the UK population.

"I need to alert you to the first signs this rise is being reflected in care homes too.

"Over the past three days, Public Health England (PHE) has reported an increase in notifications of Covid-19 cases in care homes.

"Testing data has also shown an increase in the number of positive results.
"Currently, the infections are mainly affecting the workforce but clearly there is a risk the virus will spread to care home residents, or to other parts of the care sector.

"Unfortunately, in some care homes with recent outbreaks, this does appear to have occurred, with residents also becoming infected."



A Department of Health spokesperson said: "Throughout our coronavirus response we have been doing everything we can to ensure all staff and residents in care homes are protected.

"We are testing all residents and staff, have provided 200 million items of PPE and ring-fenced £600 million to prevent infections in care homes, with a further £3.7 billion available to councils to address pressures caused by the pandemic, including in adult social care.

"There is a high demand for tests and our laboratories continue to turn test results around as quickly as possible and we plan to rapidly expand it in the coming weeks as well as bringing in new technology to process tests faster."


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