'Our hospitals are safe,' chief nurse assures after 98 patients catch COVID-19 in Stevenage's Lister

COVID-19 virus under a microscope

Almost 100 patients are thought to have caught COVID-19 at Stevenage's Lister Hospital in January - Credit: Pexels

Almost 100 patients are believed to have caught COVID-19 while being treated for other ailments at Stevenage's Lister Hospital in January, it has emerged.

During the first month of this year, 647 people received treatment for the coronavirus at Lister, but new data suggests 98 of them – that’s almost one in every six – actually caught the virus in the hospital.

That means that, since May last year, 210 people are likely to have caught the virus while an inpatient at the hospital, data suggests.

The statistics were presented at the latest meeting of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust's board, held earlier this month.

Following the meeting, Rachael Corser, chief nurse at the East and North Herts NHS Trust, which runs Lister, said: “The safety of our patients is our top priority.

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“We continue to do all that we can to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 – with strict infection prevention measures, and social distancing in our hospitals.

“It is important that the public continue to seek care where needed – our hospitals are safe places to receive treatment.”

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Since May last year, hospital NHS trusts have been required to monitor patients for COVID-19.

Those who test positive within two days of admission are determined to have caught the virus in the community.

However, those testing positive between eight and 14 days after admission are deemed to be probable healthcare-associated cases, and after that time they are considered definite healthcare-associated cases.

Patients testing positive between three and seven days after admission are deemed indeterminate as to where they picked the infection up.

According to the data presented to the board, 68 of the cases recorded in January were probable healthcare-associated and 30 were definite.

A further 78 were deemed to be indeterminate and there were 470 community onset cases.

Since data was recorded - May 2020 - the hospital has recorded 210 patients with COVID-19 deemed to be either probable or definite hospital onset cases.

As of March 22, the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust has announced 500 COVID-19 deaths.

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