Army drafted in after coronavirus hospital patients double in Wrexham

The army has been called in to ramp up testing measures in a North Wales town following a spike in coronavirus infections.

Cases have nearly doubled in less than a week at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, with concerned members of the public heading to two new military-run mobile testing centres in the town.

Health officials announced there are now between 70 and 80 confirmed cases at the hospital, up from around 40 last week. A ‘small number’ of cases have also been recorded at Deeside Community Hospital, Chirk Hospital and Mold Community Hospital.

Officials did not reveal the number of patients across the three sites due to the risk of revealing their identities.

Another 14 cases were confirmed in Wrexham on Wednesday by Public Health Wales, making up almost half of the 32 infections reported in the country over the last 24 hours.

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Plaid Cymru North Wales MS, Llyr Gruffydd, said the increasing cases in the town ‘paints a worrying picture of an infection that isn’t under control.’

Speaking at today’s press briefing, Welsh Government finance minister Rebecca Evans, said there was an outbreak control team at Maelor Hospital which will seek ‘to break the train of transmission’.

She added that the team will work to establish whether there was any link with a recent outbreak at nearby Rowan food factory, which saw 300 positive cases.

Executive director of nursing and midwifery at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Gill Harris, said the hospital has implemented ‘universal screening for all patients on wards where we may or have had a Covid-19 positive patient’.

She added that ‘proactive’ measures are being taken to curb the spread of the virus, while NHS staff, patients and visitors across North Wales are being ‘actively encouraged’ to wear masks.

On Tuesday, Wrexham saw the biggest increase of cases recorded in North Wales in the previous 24 hours, with another eight people testing positive.

That is significantly more cases than any other part of Wales is currently recording.

In total 1,286 people have tested positive in Wrexham since the start of the pandemic.

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