In light of national guidance to reduce the risks of bringing unknown cases of Coronavirus into hospitals, North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust have suspended visiting across their hospitals, with effect from Monday 23 March 2020.
This includes the Cumberland Infirmary, West Cumberland Hospital and all community hospitals.
Professor John Howarth, Deputy Chief Executive at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly. However, it is a sensible step to help avoid unknown cases of Coronavirus in our hospitals and in our communities across North Cumbria.
“At this time, we must do all we can to protect our patients and also our staff who we need to be well in order to care for those who need their help.
“Whilst this is a temporary measure, we cannot say at this stage how long it will be in place.
“We understand that people will be disappointed by not being able to visit loved ones in hospital and we would appeal to the public for their support and co-operation at this difficult time. All patients staying in our hospitals do have access to our free NHS Wi-Fi that is accessible through smart phones which they can use to keep in touch with family and friends.
“We have agreed that there will be small exceptions where visitors will be permitted, including:
- For patients who are receiving end-of-life care
- For birthing partners in maternity units
- For parents or legal guardians in the children’s unit.
“Additionally if there are exceptional clinical or social reasons why someone wants to visit this will be decided on a case-by-case basis and we would urge people to liaise directly with the senior nurse on the ward.
“We would also like to remind patients attending outpatient appointments that they don’t bring others along with them unless it is absolutely essential.”
The trust is reiterating Government advice for people not to come into hospital, or their GP practice, and to stay at home if they have a high temperature (37.8 degrees or higher) and/or a new, continuous cough. In addition:
- if you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
- if you live with other people, you should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms
- If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
- If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
People should use the NHS 111 online Coronavirus service if:
- you feel you cannot cope with their symptoms at home
- your condition gets worse
- your symptoms do not get better after seven days.