Northern Ireland news

Visiting suspended at Craigavon Area Hospital as third Covid cluster confirmed

An investigation is underway at Craigavon Area Hospital following a coronavirus outbreak among patients and staff. Picture by Mal McCann
Seanín Graham

A third coronavirus cluster has been confirmed at Craigavon Area Hospital, resulting in visiting being suspended today.

Only patients receiving end of life care will be allowed to receive visitors in a bid to limit the number of people on the Co Armagh site.

In a statement yesterday, the Southern health trust said a patient and staff member on a general medical ward (Ward 3 South) had tested positive overnight for Covid-19.

A further 11 staff members were self-isolating.

Management are already carrying out a "detailed investigation" into a separate outbreak on a haematology ward which was discovered last week.

Following testing, it has now emerged a total of 14 patients and 16 staff linked to the ward contracted the virus.

Many of these patients with blood disorders are vulnerable due to their conditions.

A spokeswoman said: "Contacts of these (16) staff members are being identified and isolating as a precaution, So far, 40 staff members have been identified as potential contacts and are currently self-isolating.

"The ward remains closed to new admissions."

Meanwhile, an initial cluster identified in the hospital's A&E department last month, in which two nurses and a medic contracted Covid, appears to have been brought under control, with the trust confirming "no further cases identified".

The A&E outbreak led to 21 staff being sent home to self-isolate as a precautionary measure.

The Irish News revealed yesterday that a birthday party in a Co Armagh restaurant which was attended by hospital nurses is being probed as a possible link to Covid cases.

The trust said it will review its visiting arrangements after seven days.

Virtual visiting is available on request by contacting 077 7651 6419 between 9am and 5pm.

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