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Belfast hospital patient who hasn't had a visitor since start of lockdown tests positive for coronavirus


The patient was being treated in a mental health unit at the City Hospital

The patient was being treated in a mental health unit at the City Hospital

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

The patient was being treated in a mental health unit at the City Hospital

A patient at a mental health facility at Belfast City Hospital who has had no visitors since March has been moved to another unit after testing positive for Covid-19.

The Belfast Trust yesterday confirmed the incident after a relative of the male patient contacted this newspaper to raise concerns about Covid-19 prevention measures.

The family member said they had been left "baffled" by the coronavirus diagnosis on Tuesday, given the acute mental health unit caring for their relative has not been receiving visitors since the start of the lockdown.

"He, and nobody on the ward, has had any visitors since March. We have been told staff are regularly tested and wear PPE," they explained.

Yesterday the trust said the safety of its patients and staff members is its "highest priority" and has acknowledged the development is worrying for the patient and the family concerned.

The relative, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed staff had appeared "unwilling or unable to provide answers" as to how his family member caught Covid-19, insisting the diagnosis had left them "bewildered and angry".

"The staff are very dismissive and have said it's just 'one of those things'. He's been moved to a Covid ward where we have no contact at all now with him," the person continued.

"We are all baffled and concerned at how he could have caught it, being in a locked-down ward with no visitors since March."

In a statement, the Belfast Trust said the male patient had been discovered to have coronavirus following "routine testing".

"This patient was isolated immediately and transferred out of the mental health unit in line with trust procedures when a patient is diagnosed with Covid-19," it explained.

"All infection prevention and control measures were adhered to and efforts are being made to carry out a contact and trace assessment to identify any patient or staff member who may have had close interaction with the patient."

The statement continued: "We appreciate this is a worrying development for the patient, their family and those at the acute mental health unit.

"The safety of our patients and staff is our highest priority and we are taking every step to ensure patients in our care and staff on the front line remain safe."

Belfast Telegraph