QEH Chief Nurse Libby McManus said: “We can confirm that we are caring for five patients who are COVID-19 positive (Coronavirus) at QEH.
“An extensive ‘contact tracing’ exercise is now under way to trace anyone who might have had close (face to face) contact with the patient who has now tested positive for COVID-19. This includes patients, their relatives and staff.
“Close contacts to the patients concerned will be given health advice about symptoms and what to do if they become unwell in the 14 days after they had contact with the confirmed case. This tried and tested method will ensure that any risk to them is minimised and the wider public is protected.
“In light of the current advice on social distancing, notably the general public being advised not to use public transport unless strictly necessary and to avoid crowded areas, we are prioritising our cancer and clinically urgent outpatient appointments.
“If you have an outpatient appointment please assume you will hear from us by telephone. These measures mean many (non-urgent) outpatient consultations will be carried out by phone, where safe to do so. Ideally, these calls will take place at the allotted appointment time.
“Only surgery relating to cancer or clinically-urgent cases will go ahead as planned. We will rearrange operations as soon as possible and apologise to patients for any inconvenience or distress this causes.
“Visiting restrictions remain in place at QEH. Exceptions include visitors to Children’s Wards, Maternity and Neonates and relatives and friends visiting patients who are approaching end of life. We have asked our Ward Managers to use their discretion when giving access to visitors.
“Based on current evidence, COVID-19 presents with flu-like symptoms including a new and continuous cough and/or a high temperature.
“To protect yourself, please be scrupulous with your hygiene and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth and use and then bin tissues if you cough or sneeze. Thorough hand washing will help to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you have to come into hospital, please use the handwash basins in the main entrance and hand gel. Protect yourself, others and the NHS.”