New government guidance is coming into force following evidence from its Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) that face coverings could help reduce transmission risk among those who have coronavirus without showing symptoms.
Face coverings should cover the mouth and nose while allowing the wearer to breathe comfortably and can be as simple as a scarf or bandanna that ties behind the head to give a snug fit.
Alongside wearing a face covering, people attending hospitals are asked to:
Wash their hands often and on entering and leaving the premises, using hand sanitiser if soap and water is not available;
Follow social-distancing measures;
Adhere to guidance issued by the healthcare provider regarding attendance and/or visiting;
Go alone, wherever possible.
Professor Chris Gray, clinical lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System, said: “We would like to thank people across the North East and north Cumbria for their support at this time and over the last few challenging months.
“As increasing numbers of people start to access NHS services again, it’s more important than ever that we all take measures to protect our patients, visitors and staff and help further prevent the spread of coronavirus in our communities.
“Covering your mouth and nose is a necessary practice to enable us to help do this, alongside washing your hands, often and particularly on entering and leaving a hospital, and following social-distancing measures.
“We’d urge people intending to come into a hospital setting to plan ahead and have a face covering with them ready to wear and play their part in helping keep us all safe.”
Further information will be displayed in hospitals, while advice can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering
Earlier this month, a Northumberland County Council meeting heard that while there are concerns about residents not accessing necessary healthcare services due to fears over the outbreak, hospitals in the area are ‘seeing more and more patients, we are seeing more and more patients accessing normal services’.