A HEALTH board has revealed that its hospitals have hit 90% capacity – with 220 patients having confirmed Covid-19.

A further 44 patients are being treated with suspected coronavirus at NHS hospitals in Lanarkshire.

The number of people being admitted with the virus is now higher than at the peak of the first wave of the pandemic.

Judith Park, director of acute services for NHS Lanarkshire, said: “We are currently treating more than 200 patients with confirmed Covid-19 in our hospitals, which is more patients than at the height of the first wave of the pandemic.

“I would like to remind the public that Covid-19 is causing severe pressure on our resources. In fact, Lanarkshire currently has one of the highest rates of Covid-19 transmission in Scotland.

“To protect our loved ones, our staff and our hospitals, it is vitally important that we all follow Scottish Government guidance, especially in relation to F.A.C.T.S.

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“Everyone should take care to wear a face covering when indoors, on public transport or when physical distancing is difficult. We should avoid crowded places and clean our hands regularly. We should also keep a two-metre distance from others and self-isolate and book a test if we show symptoms.”

At the height of the pandemic, 9,279 people attended emergency departments across Lanarkshire. In September this increased by more than 6,600 to 15,898.

Ms Park added: “We want to provide the best and safest care for our patients. To do that, I am appealing to the public for their help in reducing the risk of Covid-19 in Lanarkshire hospitals.

“We need to ensure that our hospitals comply with physical distancing. Therefore, please do not attend our emergency departments unless it is an emergency.

“If you have an appointment at one of our clinics or departments, please attend alone. The exception to this is for children and vulnerable adults, who can be accompanied by one person.

“Your community pharmacy and GP practices are open. The first appointment may be by telephone or video call however this is an important step in finding out if you, or someone you know, needs urgent medical help.”