The number of patients and colleagues with Covid has risen recently and this rise is expected to continue. As a result, we are reintroducing the requirement to wear masks in all clinical areas of our hospitals, including corridors and public areas.
This recommendation has been made by our Clinical Advisory Group (CAG) and supported by our executive team.
As of yesterday, we had 146 patients with Covid in our hospitals, which is a significant increase compared to recent weeks. We also had 261 colleagues absent following a positive Covid test. Of the total number of current patients, only 10% have Covid symptoms. This suggests the majority of patients admitted to hospital who have Covid don’t know they have it. Because the BA.4 and BA.5 variants of Omicron are extremely transmissible, this is a risk to our patients and to our staff.
Many of our patients are at increased risk if they catch the virus and we have a duty of care to do all we can to keep them safe.
Our updated rules will come in from today (Thursday 7 July).
- All colleagues will be required to wear masks in all clinical areas of our hospitals, including wards, corridors and outpatients
- Colleagues will not be required to wear a mask in non-clinical areas unless a risk assessment recommends it. Masks will continue to be available to anyone who wants to wear one
- Patients attending A&Es or Outpatients will be asked to wear a mask
- All inpatients will be offered masks
- All visitors will be asked to wear a mask at all times when they visit our hospitals
- Visitors to A&E, areas where we care for patients with compromised immune systems, and Covid areas will continue to be required to wear a mask
This is in line with all local health partners across the NHS in Sussex.
We will be making sure our signage and information reflects the current guidance.