All staff and visitors will have to wear face masks in clinical areas at the Gilbert Bain Hospital from tomorrow (Thursday).
Following new national guidance visitors are asked on arrival at the hospital to remove any face coverings they are wearing and to put on a mask that will be provided.
Masks, along with hand sanitiser and bins, will be located outside clinical departments and at the entrances to the hospital.
There will be information available which should be followed so that masks are put on and taken off correctly.
Director of nursing and acute services Kathleen Carolan said: “This is important because it is recognised that some people are unaware that they have the virus and do not have any symptoms.
“This additional measure will help to prevent transmission of the virus from the person wearing the face mask to other people.
“The hospital is small and we have done a lot of work to ensure that we maintain physical distancing rules wherever possible and put in place safeguards where this is not possible.
“Ensuring that staff have access to masks is one of the measures that we have in place to reduce the transmission of the virus when physical distancing is not practical.
“Patients will have seen that staff are already wearing masks in the majority of clinical departments.”
Mrs Carolan said communicating effectively with patients and relatives was really important and staff might remove the face mask if it was making communication very difficult, for example if someone had a hearing impairment.
She added: “If this is the case, then staff will maintain physical distance if a face mask is not appropriate while speaking to patients.”
There will be prominent signs around the Gilbert Bain Hospital providing information about hand hygiene, physical distancing requirements and departments where there is controlled access, eg the maximum number of people in the department at a time.