An outbreak of a low number of patients with Covid-19 has been confirmed at North Devon District Hospital.

In a statement released today (Friday, October 16), Andrew Davis, deputy medical director at Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, said there was a ‘low number’ of patients who had tested positive to the virus and were now on a separate Covid-positive ward.

He said: “This number is low compared to elsewhere in the country. Our testing quickly identified these patients as Covid-positive and they were immediately isolated. They were then contact traced to reduce the risk to anyone else.

“Thanks to everyone’s efforts, Northern Devon has been fortunate to see low rates of Covid-19 in our community. However, as in other parts of the country we are now seeing a gradual resurgence of infections.”

Mr Davis said measures were in place to ensure these patients could be cared for while the hospital was still able to continue with urgent care, planned elective surgery and outpatient appointments.

He added: “Covid-positive patients are cared for in a completely separate area of the hospital and all patient care is running as normal. People should still keep their appointments. We very much want to see our patients.

“I’d like to reassure everyone that it is our top priority to keep everyone safe.

“We have learned a lot from the first wave and we continue to use this knowledge and thorough infection prevention controls to keep staff and patients safe.

“We are well prepared to handle an increase in Covid-19 cases in Northern Devon and have robust plans in place to manage winter pressures alongside.

“The continued threat of Covid-19 is real. You can help us by following the government guidelines: Hands, Face, Space. Please don’t ignore symptoms, in yourself or in your household. We all need to look after ourselves and each other.”

According to the latest available Government figures, in the past week there have been 50 new coronavirus cases in North Devon and 23 in Torridge.

Information on local clusters as of October 15 says there are 14 cases across Barnstaple area wards including Roundswell and Landkey, 10 cases in Ilfracombe East, six in Ilfracombe West, five in South Molton and three in Braunton. Other areas are listed as having zero to two cases.