Morecambe Bay health trust reveals exact number of people tested for Covid-19

The trust started testing employees and household members who had coronavirus symptoms at the end of February 2020, several weeks before the UK went into lockdown.

By Nick Lakin
Tuesday, 12th May 2020, 12:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th May 2020, 1:11 pm

It has swabbed 9,617 individuals, including University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust (UHMBT) employees and household members, hospital inpatients, care home residents and staff, and key workers from other organisations and their households.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed that Barrow, Lancaster and South Lakeland - the areas that UHMBT operates in - had the highest proportion of people who tested positive for Covid-19 per 100,000 in the country.

But the trust's chief executive Aaron Cummins said on Sunday May 10, that the figures should be viewed with caution due to the high numbers tested locally.

UHMBT staff at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. Photo by Tom Morbey.

A total of 156 people have now died (as of May 12) with Covid-19 symptoms at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, which runs hospitals in Lancaster, Barrow and Kendal.

David Wilkinson, Director of People and Organisational Development, UHMBT, said: “We started swabbing our employees and household members who were symptomatic of coronavirus (COVID-19) at the end of February 2020.

“Since then, we have swabbed 9,617 individuals - made up of UHMBT employees and household members, hospital inpatients, care home residents and staff, and key workers from other organisations and their households.

“Testing is carried out on our wards, via drive-through swabbing at one of our three main hospitals, in the individual’s home or at the mobile testing centre at Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal.

The Royal Lancaster Infirmary is one of three hospitals run by UHMBT.

“Carrying out this testing not only means that the individual can care for themselves and their family in the best way, but if they get a negative result, they can return to work earlier to support their colleagues."

A spokesman said the trust wouldn't be sharing the results, but that all the people tested were either symptomatic or members of a symptomatic person's family, so it wasn't a random sample.