The number of people being admitted to hospital in Bolton with confirmed or suspected coronavirus is rising ­— with an increase in the number of 40 and 50-year-olds being treated.

Royal Bolton Hospital says it experienced an increase in the number of 'covid patients' over the weekend as a result of a sharp increase in the infection rate in the borough, which is close to 200 per 100,000.

Hospital chiefs told The Bolton News that it is seeing an increased number of patients under 65 being admitted, with some in their in 40s and 50s, which is a significantly younger age group than at the peak of the pandemic in April and May.

Dr Francis Andrews, Medical Director at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are seeing more people being admitted with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 as a result of the very high rate of infections in Bolton.

“This is not a shift we want to see. The situation at the hospital is under control and we were well prepared for this. However the rate continuing to rise is of concern, and we continue to urge the people of Bolton to consider others when making decisions that could jeopardise their safety."

To date the hospital has three covid-19 patients in critical care, 20 'covid patients' on the wards, and 26 suspected cases of people contracting coronavirus.

Dr Francis Andrews added: “We are extremely busy in our emergency department as a result of this increase. Only attend this department if you have experienced a life threatening accident or illness and need urgent medical attention. We need to keep people safe, and having limited numbers in this area is key to this.

“Please do not attend with covid symptoms unless you are extremely unwell or referred by your GP. Covid testing for the public can be accessed via the testing portal – there are details on our website.

“Visiting is still restricted at the hospital and a number of measures have been put in place including social distancing throughout, to ensure that it is as Covid-safe an environment as it can be.

“We are still open for business, we are still here to help the people of Bolton, and we would not want this to stop patients attending their appointments or undergoing planned surgery. But we cannot afford for this situation to worsen.”

For up to date information on the hospital services and covid measures in our healthcare settings, please visit the Trust’s website or follow Bolton NHS Foundation Trust on social media.