Coronavirus UK: Death toll at Welsh hospital rises to 24

Death toll from major coronavirus outbreak at Welsh hospital sparked by ‘super-spreader’ now rises to 24

  • Some 24 people have died at Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant, Wales
  • There are 129 Covid-19 cases at the hospital, up from 94 cases last week
  • Hospital has already suspended planned surgeries to contain spread of Covid
  • Public health officials believe hospital outbreak was caused by ‘super-spreader’ 

Twenty-four people have died after a coronavirus outbreak at a hospital in Wales sparked by a ‘super-spreader’.

There are now 129 Covid-19 cases at Royal Glamorgan Hospital in locked-down Rhondda Cynon Taf, up from 94 last week. 

Coronavirus infections in the region have spiked in the last month, from 48.9 cases per 100,000 people on September 6 to 182.8 cases per 100,000 on October 4, according to public health data. 

The hospital has already suspended planned surgeries while adult emergency admissions and ambulance patients are being diverted to other hospitals in order to contain the spread of the disease.

Cwm Taf University Health Board said it was also monitoring a number of cases at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil and Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, which have 17 and 16 cases linked to the outbreak respectively, and one death each.

The health board’s medical director, Dr Nick Lyons, said: ‘In conjunction with Public Health Wales, we continue to closely monitor cases at Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Prince Charles Hospital and Princess of Wales Hospital sites. 

‘The safety of our patients and staff remains our first priority and immediate measures to contain the spread of the virus have been put in place.

‘We are taking the outbreaks extremely seriously and the stringent and robust mitigating actions which have been taken across our sites are being closely observed. However given the nature of Coronavirus, there is an inevitable time delay in when we will see the positive impact of these measures.

Twenty-four people have died after a coronavirus outbreak at a hospital in Wales sparked by a ‘super-spreader’. There are now 129 Covid-19 cases at Royal Glamorgan Hospital in locked-down Rhondda Cynon Taf, up from 94 last week 

Coronavirus infections in Rhondda Cynon Taf have spiked in the last month, from 48.9 cases per 100,000 people on September 6 to 182.8 cases per 100,000 on October 4

Britain recorded 14,542 coronavirus cases yesterday with signs of rising hospitalisations

‘Infection rates also continue to rise in our communities and we are appealing to all members of the public to take seriously their responsibilities by ensuring their behaviour does not contribute to the further spread of COVID-19. 

‘We remain grateful to all members of our community who are continuing to adhere to the guidance in order to help control this virus.’  

The Welsh Conservative’s shadow health minister, Andrew RT Davies, criticised Welsh Labour for not learning from an earlier outbreak at Wrexham Maelor Hospital in North Wales.

He said: ‘In the summer, there was a similar outbreak at Wrexham Maelor and Labour’s health minister claimed lessons would be learnt. Tragically, this has not happened.’

Dr Frank Atheron, Wales’s chief medical officer, confirmed at the Welsh Government’s Covid-19 press briefing that the outbreak at the Royal Glamorgan was still being ‘brought under control’.

But despite saying he was seeing ‘some improvements’ in the rate of viral transmissions in the Rhondda Cynon Taf area, in which the hospital is located, the number of new cases there and across Wales was still ‘high’. 

There have been 17 cases and one death recorded at Prince Charles Hospital while 16 infections and one death was reported at Princess of Wales Hospital.

Coronavirus infections in Rhondda Cynon Taf have spiked in the last month, from 48.9 cases per 100,000 people on September 6 to 182.8 cases per 100,000 on October 4 

The UK is recording more coronavirus cases relative to the size of its population than the US for the first time since March, data shows. There were 143 cases per million people on October 5, compared to America’s rate of 130 per million

More than 32,000 contacts of coronavirus-infected patients in England were not tracked down last week in worst performance yet, Test and Trace figures reveal 

Britain’s beleaguered Test and Trace system is performing worse than ever, official data today revealed.

More than 32,000 contacts of coronavirus-infected patients in England were not tracked down in the last week of September. This is the equivalent of 32 per cent of all 100,000 contacts the service tried to reach. 

And a further 17,000 contacts were not reached by the service within 24 hours, or 33 per cent, the worst turn around time yet.

This means many moved around the community for longer, raising the risk of those who were infected transmitting the virus to others. 

The Department of Health report admitting the disastrous figures complains the number of positive cases handed over to Track and Trace surged 19 per cent during the week data was reported, after 34,494 new Covid-19 cases were referred.

SAGE has urged tracers to call at least 80 per cent of all contacts and ensure they self-isolate, in order to stop the spread of infection.

But barely one-in-five of those asked to self-isolate are doing so, according to a survey of 30,000 people by researcher’s at King’s College London.

Testing tsar Baroness Dido Harding was laid into by MPs this afternoon after she ignored their deadline for answers on testing.

Their anger comes as rumours swirl that Boris Johnson will close all pubs and bars in the North of England, admitting that local lockdown restrictions have failed.

The outbreak has been blamed on a ‘super-spreading event’ caused by either a patient or a staff member, rather than there being multiple transmissions.  

A number of areas in Wales have already been hit with local lockdown measures in a desperate attempt to stop the spread of the virus.

According to official Public Health Wales statistics, 360 people were known to have died with coronavirus in the Cwm Taf health board area.

Across the UK, there have been more than 42,000 deaths from coronavirus while 54,000 infections have been recorded.

Local MP Alex Davies-Jones and Member of the Senedd (MS) Mick Antoniw said they were concerned by the rise in the number of deaths at the Royal Glamorgan.

‘It is an incredibly worrying deterioration in what was already a major incident and we know that local people will share our concern,’ they said.

‘We are seeking urgent clarification from the health board on why this has happened and more importantly, what measures are being implemented to ensure that the outbreak is fully contained.’

Professor Kelechi Nnoaham, director of public health at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, said: ‘Temporary restrictions to services at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital will remain in place until we are absolutely sure that we have contained the spread of the virus on the site.

‘The opening of our field hospital next week will create capacity at the hospital for patients who need the most specialist care, and enable others to relocate to a Covid-free setting.

‘Alongside Public Health Wales, we are continually reviewing the situation, and acknowledge the major impact that our decisions are having on our patients, our communities, and our staff.

‘We thank everyone for working with us at this challenging time.

‘The safety of our patients and staff across all of our sites remains our first priority and we remain grateful to all members of our community who are continuing to adhere to the guidance in order to help control the spread of this virus.’

Dr Ruth Alcolado, deputy medical director of Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, previously told Sky News: ‘We must have had an event where a number of patients were infected, perhaps by one individual at a point in time, and that has then amplified much more quickly.

‘It’s generally termed a ‘super-spreader event’. It’s not about an individual person, it’s an event where more than a couple of individuals are exposed to the virus and therefore it spreads much more quickly.’

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