Home visits over Christmas for some patients at Muckamore Abbey Hospital have been cancelled following a Covid-19 outbreak.
While Belfast Trust said that less than five patients have returned positive tests in one of the wards at the Antrim facility, and they are now being treated in isolation, the knock on effect means many more will spend the holiday in the ward away from family.
“Belfast Trust can confirm that an outbreak of Covid-19 has been declared in one of the ward areas at Muckamore Abbey Hospital,” the Trust told the Belfast Telegraph.
“Less than five patients have tested positive, and they are being appropriately cared for to ensure they receive support and treatment while they complete their isolation period.
“Regrettably we must cancel home visits over Christmas for the patients within that area.
“This is in line with PHA guidance and Infection Prevention Control recommendations.”
The Trust said alternative arrangements to keep families in touch with relatives in hospital over Christmas are being put in place.
“Staff at Muckamore will always try to facilitate alternative contact opportunities where face to face contact is not possible,” the Trust added.
“This can include telephone and video calls as agreed between the service and families. We are extremely sorry that we have had to take this course of action, and fully understand the huge disappointment this will bring to patients and their families, however this is necessary to help prevent further Covid-19 infection in the community.
“Robust infection prevention and control measures are in place, and this includes a deep clean of the affected area.
“Every precaution is being taken to prevent further incidents occurring. Staff who tested positive are now self-isolating, and Belfast Trust is ensuring that staffing levels at Muckamore over the Christmas period and beyond are appropriate despite this outbreak.
“Muckamore staff will continue to keep the situation under review and will be in direct contact with patients and their families to update them on the situation.”