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Mask wearing update for every patient, visitor and worker at Royal Stoke

Stoke on Trent Live logo Stoke on Trent Live 04/08/2022 Phil Corrigan
Workers, patients and visitors to the hospital will have to continue to wear masks © Getty Images Workers, patients and visitors to the hospital will have to continue to wear masks

Mask wearing will continue for staff, patients and visitors at the Royal Stoke University Hospital until Covid infections drop below a certain level. University Hospitals of North Midlands, which runs the Royal Stoke, reintroduced mask wearing in non-clinical areas last month, in response to the latest Omicron wave – face coverings had remained mandatory in clinical areas.

Chief nurse Ann-Marie Riley told a meeting of the UHNM board that members of the trust's clinical group were reviewing the situation on a weekly basis, considering both the level of cases at the hospital and community prevalence. She explained that the mask rules would not be changed until the proportion of PCR tests being taken at the hospital coming back positive dropped below five per cent – the current positivity rate is 8.8 per cent.

Ms Riley said: "We have seen that figure drop below five per cent during the summer months, so we know we can achieve it. We believe that five per cent is relevant, and we'll change mask wearing in relation to that number."

READ: Covid cases drop at Royal Stoke as city death toll hits 1,024

National guidance from NHS England changed on June 1, with mask wearing no longer being required in non-clinical areas and some clinical areas. But Ms Riley told the board that UHNM had never lifted the requirement in clinical areas due to concerns over the potential impact of the Jubilee celebrations and other events.

As of Tuesday, August 2, there were 154 patients with Covid at UHNM, the lowest figure in a month. The total included five patients who needed mechnical ventilation. According to latest infection survey by the Office for National Statistics, an estimated one in 20 people in England had Covid in the week ending July 20, down from one in 17 in the previous week.

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