Weston Hospital and Covid Outbreak - Statement by Dr Liam Fox MP - Thursday 28th May 2020:
The temporary closure of Weston hospital has understandably sent a wave of anxiety across the local community. New admissions have been temporarily halted to allow for widespread testing of patients and staff and, if necessary, deep cleaning of the hospital.
According to the hospital authorities “There are currently a high number of patients with coronavirus in the hospital. We have tested all inpatients and will undertake retesting in line with national guidance, and we have appropriate segregation in place for patient care.”
The situation may point to a new outbreak in the hospital or new infections relating to the increased number of travellers to the seafront in the good weather over the past few weeks. But there is another possibility that may well become better understood in the weeks and months ahead. In Weston Hospital there is an emerging picture of asymptomatic staff testing positive for the virus. In other words, as more people are being tested we are finding out that the infection has been more widespread in the community than previously thought with many of those who have contracted the virus showing no symptoms.
My view is that this is likely to become a more widespread pattern. Overseas studies have shown that a much higher proportion than expected (of those who have tested positive for coronavirus) have had few if any symptoms.
So it may be that in the times ahead we will see an increase in the number who have tested positive for Covid 19 without there being any new outbreak of the disease. Only time and better data will tell and jumping to conclusions would not be appropriate behaviour.