Ayrshire hospitals remain in Covid lockdown as visits ban extended for two weeks

Ayrshire hospitals will remain in lockdown with a visiting ban extended for two weeks – as health chiefs confirm Covid bed capacity has been breached.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran say it took “the difficult decision” to continue with current restrictions on families seeing their loved ones in Ayr and Crosshouse hospitals unless ‘essential’.

Last month, health bosses suspended hospital visiting to tackle the surge in coronavirus cases and told how they would curtail visiting until the end of September.

But the health board has taken the decision to further extend restrictions – urging families to instead arrange a ‘virtual visit’ (video call).

It comes as admissions of patients being treated for Covid-19 reached a seven-month high with figures topping 145 last week.

Ayrshire Live can reveal NHS Ayrshire & Arran has also breached its Covid-19 bed capacity by 16.

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Bosses insist they are able to “use our capacity flexibly between urgent, emergency cases, elective and Covid-19 cases.”

As of Monday, there were 116 designated Covid beds with figures showing 132 patients were in Ayrshire hospitals being treated for Covid.

Interim nurse director Jennifer Wilson says healthcare staff are aware of the “social isolation” that the visiting ban could create but staff will be do everything they can to support patients.

She said: “As community prevalence of Covid-19 remains high, we have had to make the very difficult decision to extend the essential visiting restrictions currently in place.

“We really do appreciate how difficult it is not being able to visit a loved one in hospital. However, we need to take all necessary measures to reduce the risk of Covid-19 across our hospitals and keep our patients and staff safe.

“We will be carefully monitoring the situation so that we can welcome visitors back as soon as it is safe to do so.

“I would like to thank you for your patience and understanding at this time.”

Families who wish to arrange a ‘virtual visit’ can contact their ward directly to organise a call.

The health board has also confirmed that family members are able to drop off clothes and personal items for patients at designated areas within both hospitals.

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