SOUTHAMPTON'S biggest hospital is reinforcing the wearing of face masks due to a spike in Covid cases.

University Hospital Southampton has made the decision to reintroduce mask-wearing throughout all areas of the hospital.

The hospital has been forced to close 19 hospital bays, putting beds out of action, because of contact with infectious patients.

A significant number of staff are absent due to infection rates.

The trust has said that the transmissibility of the Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 is "proving to be very high".

READ MORE: Sky Princess cruise ship returns to Southampton after Covid outbreak

A total of 92 patients have tested positive for the virus, which includes patients who have been admitted as a direct result of Covid symptoms.

The community is being asked to wear a mask, unless medically exempt, and use hand gel when visiting the hospital.

Anyone with symptoms or in contact with someone who has Covid should stay away.

Patients should attend appointments on their own where possible.

People are asked to consider using pharmacy, GP, or urgent treatment centre if appropriate.

READ MORE: Hospital urgent treatment centre to close earlier due to staff shortage

A spokesperson from the Trust said: "Against this backdrop, we are continuing to see unprecedented levels of demand across our hospital and our emergency department (ED) continues to be busier than ever.

"We would like to sincerely thank our community for its support for this urgent response to the situation we find ourselves facing at UHS.

"Please be assured that the situation remains under regular review from our infection prevention team."

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