There are now increasing numbers of patients with coronavirus being treated at North Devon District Hospital.

Dr George Hands, respiratory consultant and clinical lead for COVID-19 at Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Patients with coronavirus needing hospital treatment are being cared for in isolation by our highly experienced doctors, nurses and other staff.

“On behalf of everyone at the trust, I would like to reassure you that we are taking all the necessary measures to prepare, and we are only just starting to see the numbers grow.”

The health trust would not give an exact number of patients in North Devon but as of Monday April 6 there were 229 coronavirus cases in the Devon county area plus 102 in Plymouth and 57 in Torbay, according to Public Health England.

Dr Hands added: “Staff are coming together brilliantly to prepare for the increasing number of patients we are expecting, and to maintain our current services as far as possible. I feel really proud to work with such hardworking, caring and adaptable people.

“It has also been amazing to see the response from local people and businesses. We have been inundated with offers of all kinds of help. We are really grateful for all the offers and we are working through these to see how this help can best support our staff.

“Everyone has a part to play in supporting northern Devon to get through this. If there is one piece of advice I would like everyone to take on board, it would be to make sure you are following the government guidance on self isolating and social distancing.

“I cannot say enough about how vitally important this is.”

For more advice on the coronavirus, go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ .