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15 staff at East Kent Hospitals test positive for Covid-19 in five-day blitz

A five-day testing blitz of 9,000 staff at an under-fire Kent hospitals trust has uncovered 15 positive cases.

Employees at East Kent Hospitals underwent tests as part of a "rapid" programme in the wake of fears transmission across its sites has played a part in a worrying number of Covid-19 deaths.

Currently more people are dying with coronavirus at East Kent Hospitals - including William Harvey in Ashford
Currently more people are dying with coronavirus at East Kent Hospitals - including William Harvey in Ashford

Currently, more people are dying with coronavirus at hospitals in Ashford, Margate, Canterbury, Folkestone and Dover than anywhere else in England.

Last week, seven people lost their lives - almost a sixth of the Covid-19 deaths recorded across the country.

In July, 10.6% of all deaths have occurred in East Kent, compared to 1.5% across the pandemic as a whole.

The trust released the results of its staff testing programme today, confirming the 15 workers who tested positive - less than 0.2% of all employees - are now self-isolating.

The testing is part of an ongoing package of stringent measures in a bid to keep patients, staff and the wider community safe and reduce the risk of transmission in hospitals.

Other steps include limiting the number of people on site, having a strict “front door” policy including taking temperatures before people enter and testing asymptomatic patients regularly.

Chief medical officer Dr Rebecca Martin said: "It is important that our patients and staff have confidence that we are doing all we can to keep them, and those close to them, safe while they are in our care whether they are being treated for Covid-19 or using other hospital services."

She added that testing staff means they can ensure no member of staff who may be carrying the virus without knowing it is working in the hospitals.

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