Around half of the A&E staff at a hospital in South Wales have tested positive for coronavirus, a consultant working there has warned.
Dr Tim Rogerson said 50% of the consultants and nurses – himself included – at the Royal Gwent Hospital’s accident and emergency department in Newport had tested positive for COVID-19.
The doctor revealed the figure in a video posted to Facebook by the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.
The health board area, which includes Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen, has the highest number of confirmed cases in Wales – currently standing at 1,453 – and one of the worst in the UK.
The number of people who have died in hospitals in Wales after catching the disease rose to 369 on Sunday as 18 more fatalities were recorded.
The total for the whole of the UK rose above the 10,000 mark.
Dr Rogerson said he had been off work since experiencing “mild to moderate” coronavirus symptoms and that his son has also tested positive for the virus.
He said: “Sadly, I have been off since Sunday (5 April) with pretty much the full house of symptoms of coronavirus: the fever, the aches, the sort throat and a lack of sense of smell.
“This has obviously happened despite all of the PPE (personal protective equipment) that we’ve got and all the hand washing that we’re doing but it’s probably just a likely thing that’s going to happen when we’re faced with such numbers of patients coming in with coronavirus.
“We’re probably up to around 50% of the consultant workforce at the Gwent in A&E who have swabbed positive for the coronavirus and a similar percent in our nursing team.
“It’s probably inevitable and it is proving a challenge when it’s coming to staffing the department when we are facing these numbers coming through.”
Dr Rogerson added: “All staff on the various frontlines are putting themselves into harm’s way when we’re dealing with patients who have coronavirus symptoms.”
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The medic urged people to follow the government’s advice and stay home over the Easter weekend, warning that breaching the guidelines would hit the hospital’s intensive care unit capacity in “two weeks’ time”.