Weston General Hospital is to stay shut to new admissions for at least a week because of a high number of Coronavirus cases.
All staff at Weston Hospital are being tested, due to what has been described as “an emerging picture” of asymptomatic workers testing positive.
The NHS trust’s chief executive Robert Woolley said it would be shut for “at least a week, possibly longer.”
The hospital – which is used by people across the Burnham-On-Sea area – has seen 40% of staff who were tested last week testing positive. More than 60 patients were also found to be infected last weekend.
The hospital stopped accepting new admissions on Monday to “maintain patient and staff safety” but there has been criticism of the communication around what is going on.
North Somerset Council said: “Trust leaders need to come out and explain exactly what the situation is.”
But Mr Woolley, from The University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, said the 40% figure cited “was a small sample testing” done last week and they would understand how many staff “have actually got the infection” when more results come back.
“By the end of the week I should have the results that tell me what we’re dealing with, in terms of the scale of infection inside the hospital,” he said.
“Then we’ll be able to put our plan together to reopen but I need to be clear that it’s probably at least a week possibly longer before we’re able to do that.”
“We want to be absolutely safe, we want to deep clean everywhere and make sure that staff are in the right places.”
Unison representative Joanne Kaye said staff had been “left in the dark”, adding: “Many of those who work at the hospital only heard about the temporary closure through social media, which is a major communications failure,” she said.