RESIDENTS have been urged to follow the rules as health bosses said the second wave of the pandemic has now hit Hampshire hospitals.
A total of 108 Covid patients are currently being treated at hospitals in Winchester and Basingstoke.
This is the highest number of Covid patients the two hospitals have recorded since September, according to Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Alex Whitfield, the trust’s chief executive, has urged residents to comply with the coronavirus rules as she said the second wave has now hit the Royal Hampshire County Hospital and the Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital.
She said at the moment 54 Covid patients were being treated at each of the two hospitals run by the trust.
It comes as Ms Whitfield confirmed that during the first wave of the pandemic, the highest number of Covid patients recorded in one day at both hospitals was 155.
She said both hospitals are expected to be busier than last winter but much will depend on people’s behaviour.
However, she said the number of Covid hospital admissions has started to go down with 65 admissions recorded two weeks ago and 52 admissions recorded over the past seven days.
But measures to face a second wave of the pandemic are being rolled out.
Hospital staff are set to be tested twice a week as part of a national scheme while patients at both hospitals are currently being tested on day one, three and five of their hospital stay.
Ms Whitfield also said they are looking at using the saliva test currently trialled in Southampton but yet to be confirmed.
It comes as last week it was announced the saliva testing programme was going to be rolled out on a wider area across the south.
Elective surgeries, which were put on hold during the first wave, are expected to continue during the second wave thanks to the use of private facilities such as the BMI Sarum Road Hospital in Winchester and The Hampshire Clinic in Basingstoke. But the cost of the private provision has not been revealed.
It comes as the first wave has caused a backlog of elective surgeries but the number of people currently on a waiting list is yet to be revealed.
However, Ms Whitfield said it was not possible to exclude that elective surgeries would have to be put on hold again over the coming months.
But she stressed that urgent care and cancer treatment would continue to be available.
Additional air scrubbers are being used across hospitals and more digital services are now available for patients.
Ms Whitfield said the trust was also providing support to hospital staff.
She confirmed the trust was being supported by agency staff but the cost was yet to be revealed.
However, Ms Whitfield said the use of agency staff had not increased because of the pandemic.
She praised the work by hospital staff over the past months and thanked residents for the sacrifices they were making.
But she added: “The key message for me is wash your hands, wear a face mask and keep your distance. They seem basic but they make a massive difference.”