Five patients on NI cancer ward test positive for Covid-19

Five patients on a cancer ward in Northern Ireland have tested positive for Covid-19.

It is the second cluster of infections at Craigavon Area Hospital in Co Armagh.

A member of staff has tested positive and three close staff contacts are self-isolating as a precaution, the Southern Health and Social Care Trust said.

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It added: “Covid-19 is rising again in our community.

“We urgently appeal to everyone to wash their hands, cover their face and maintain social distancing.”

The ward is closed to admissions.

Trust staff are working closely with the Public Health Agency to manage the situation.

Following recent Covid-19 cases in Craigavon’s emergency department, some staff are isolating at home as a precaution.

The Trust tweeted: “With reduced staff, longer waiting times more likely but will keep to minimum.

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“Emergency department remains open but is busy, only attend if urgent condition requiring emergency treatment and no alternative.”

The trust has confirmed that three staff members at the hospital’s respiratory emergency department have tested positive for the virus.

On Tuesday 20 members of staff were self-isolating as a precaution, the trust said.

The trust said any other members of staff who have been in close contact with the confirmed cases are being tested and are currently at home isolating as a precaution.

“At this stage it is understood that the infection may have transferred in a social setting, ie not within the Emergency Department (ED),” the trust said.

“Staff in the ED wear full personal protective equipment when treating patients, therefore we do not believe there is any risk to patients at this time.

“The ED in Craigavon remains open but is extremely busy and we would urge the public only to attend if there is no other alternative.”

Another 47 people have tested positive across Northern Ireland, the department of health said, bringing the overall tally to 6,823.

No new deaths were reported.