The NHS will comply mask wear again amid huge surge in Covid infections in hospitals, the leaked letter shows.

Staff, patients and visitors will be asked to wear masks throughout the NHS hospitalsGPs and dentists in the Midlands, according to a letter seen The Independent.

In a letter sent to NHS chiefs in the Midlands on July 7, NHS England said: “It is clear that we have entered the next Corona virus infection covid-19 a wave Over the past seven days we have had a 97 per cent increase in in-hospital Covid-19 cases in acute trust settings and a 25 per cent increase in mental health settings, this also included a rise in patients being admitted to intensive care beds. In addition, we are also seeing an increase in staff absences related to Covid.

“As a result, we advise that in accordance with [UK Health Security Agency] In line with UKHSA guidance, all providers are reviewing their mask wearing guidelines with a view to returning to universal mask wearing by staff. This includes primary care colleagues.”

NHS directors in the Midlands, which covers almost 60 hospitals, were also told to encourage patients and visitors to wear a mask, but warned there was no mandate to do so, so they could opt out.

The national guidance comes as hospitals across the country have already begun resuming mask mandates weeks after the measures were lifted.

During a board meeting on Thursday, NHS medical director Stephen Powis said the number of Covid hospitalizations could reach 15,000 in the next few days. The last time such high rates were in April during the peak of the fourth wave.

During the Covid wave in January 2021, the number of patients in hospital beds peaked at 34,000.

Data from the ZOE Covid program recorded 325,337 cases of Covid as of July 4. Around one in 10 hospital beds in England are currently occupied by patients with COVID-19, with more than 11,000 beds occupied.

The news comes as NHS figures on Thursday showed that 36 per cent of the 10,330 beds occupied in England on Monday were occupied by patients being treated for Covid.

Earlier this week The Independent Reports of staff shortages have started to cause disruption in the NHS.

The lack of staff was also reported to be affecting the national blood supply, as appointments for donations were canceled due to staff shortages.

The government is also expected to introduce a fourth booster shot for the over-50s amid fears of new waves of Covid along with an early flu season.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/covid-nhs-mask-hospital-b2117982.html

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