Covid: Llandovery Hospital closed amid Covid outbreaks

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Image caption,
All patients at Llandovery community hospital will be transferred to a hospital in Ammanford by the end of the week

A community hospital in west Wales has been shut due to coronavirus outbreaks at two hospitals, a health board said.

Llandovery Hospital in Carmarthenshire is closed and its patients transferred to Amman Valley Hospital in Ammanford, Hywel Dda health board has announced.

It said a number of staff at both hospitals were self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19, creating "significant constraints" on staff.

Llandovery mayor Louise Wride said it was a "big concern" for the community.

Public Health Wales reported 151 new cases in the health board area on Wednesday - 90 of which were in Carmarthenshire.

Image caption,
Louise Wride, mayor of Llandovery, says the closure of the hospital is "the main topic on the street"

"It is a main topic on the street here - I'm not sure if it's because we're a small community but there seems to be more cases now," said Ms Wride.

"We're pulling together as a community though, trying to help each other."

One of the main concerns in the community, according to Ms Wride, is that the hospital may mot reopen after a campaign to save it from closure last year.

'A big concern'

"It is a big concern for us in Llandovery - it's a big hub for the town," she went on.

"The worst-case scenario is that it would close permanently - that would be a big loss in Llandovery, but we have been assured it will be re-opening in January."

Eight doctors from the Llanfair surgery, which is based on the hospital site, have written a letter explaining the decision.

Image caption,
The closure was due to "critical nursing staff shortages because of illness", doctors say in a letter

"This was not a decision which anyone would have wished to implement, but it was the only sensible conclusion," the letter said.

"Due to the critical nursing staff shortages because of illness, this was the safest decision for all patients."

The health board said there would be "no increased risk to any patients" at Amman Valley hospital, and envisaged reopening Llandovery Hospital in early January "once staffing levels have returned to normal".