Coronavirus: Royal Glamorgan Hospital reports eight deaths linked to major COVID-19 outbreak

30 September 2020, 08:19 | Updated: 30 September 2020, 16:34

Eight people have died and six are in intensive care at a hospital in Wales after a major coronavirus outbreak was declared.

Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant announced "significant temporary service restrictions" after confirming 82 cases of COVID-19 on site.

This includes halting planned surgery - except for some urgent cancer operations.

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Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams said: "We understand that this is a serious situation and how upsetting it is for all those involved".

"The situation is a worrying one, and all steps are being taken to protect existing patients, staff, and to ensure that those residents that were due to leave the hospital are directed to appropriate care in other hospitals in the near vicinity."

She added she was working with health authorities to understand the reasons for the outbreak, which deputy medical director Dr Ruth Alcolado said was likely down to a "super-spreader event".

"We must have had an event where a number of patients were infected, perhaps by one individual at a point in time, and then that has amplified much more quickly," she said.

The Royal Glamorgan Hospital is in Rhondda Cynon Taf, which is currently in local lockdown.

The case rise comes one week after the health board said 34 cases of COVID-19 had been recorded across two of the hospital's wards, linked mainly to transmission within the site.

A statement from the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board said: "The Health Board is taking a number of urgent and significant actions to ensure the safety of our staff, patients and communities."

The hospital said the emergency department will remain open for walk-in patients and those who can be treated in the ambulatory care department.

Welsh Ambulance Service (999) patients, excluding children, will be diverted to other sites.

Paul Mears, chief executive of Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, said measures include "immediate closure of affected wards, risk assessments of affected and at-risk wards, reviews of infection prevention and control measures and their implementation, increased testing of healthcare staff and testing of all hospital admissions".

The 12 areas of Wales under local lockdown restrictions are Caerphilly county borough, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport, Blaenau Gwent, Cardiff, Swansea, the town of Llanelli, Neath Port Talbot, the Vale of Glamorgan, and Torfaen.

From Thursday at 6pm, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Conwy and Wrexham, all in North Wales, will also join the list of areas under local lockdowns.

On Tuesday, Public Health Wales said a further three people had died with coronavirus in Wales, with 366 people testing positive.

As of 9am on Tuesday, there had been a further 7,143 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK - the highest daily figure recorded since the outbreak began, although far more tests are being carried out than in the spring.

A further 71 people had died within 28 days of testing positive, bringing the UK total to 42,072.