As we stated last week, we have been keeping our COVID-19 restrictions under continuous review; and our priority remains the safety of our colleagues, patients and community.
Today, we are still seeing higher numbers of COVID-19 cases than in recent weeks, with 74 positive cases in our hospitals and community beds. We are also seeing high bed occupancy with 98% at both our RLI and FGH sites and there is a steady increase in staff sickness.
To protect us all and manage the increased pressures the rise in COVID-19 cases brings to our teams and the system as a whole, we are reinstating surgical masks in all public areas of our hospitals for all colleagues, patients and visitors from Thursday 14 July.
Surgical masks (TIIR) are available at hospital entrances and from tomorrow must be worn in all public areas, clinical departments and in general thoroughfares, such as corridors. Any spaces that members of the public are accessing require masks to be worn. Masks will remain optional in all staff only areas (i.e. private offices, staff rooms, secure laboratory areas.)
For canteen and cafe areas masks should be worn when moving around the space but when seated masks can be removed.
When wearing a mask please ensure you are covering your mouth and nose as illustrated below.
We understand that this may not be a welcome decision for some, but it is important to acknowledge that COVID-19 is very much still with us, and we will continue to respond to prevent the spread and protect our colleagues, patients and their loved ones.
We will continue to keep you updated on any changes. In the meantime, please stay hydrated, take regular breaks and continue to look after each other.
Executive Chief Nurse