THE first death from coronavirus has been reported at Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester.
The hospital confirmed that a 72-year-old woman with underlying health conditions, who had tested positive for COVID-19, had died on Saturday.
A Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said: “Sadly, we can confirm that a woman who had been cared for at Dorset County Hospital and died at the hospital on March 21 2020 had tested positive for COVID-19.
“Her family have been informed about the cause of death and are following national guidance. Our thoughts and condolences are with them at this difficult and distressing time.
“Out of respect for their privacy we will not be commenting further.”
There are now 23 confirmed cases of coronavirus being treated across Dorset. This includes 11 cases in the Dorset Council area and 12 in Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch.
Dorset County Hospital has said it needs to ensure it has as many beds as possible to care for patients with severe respiratory problems when the number of infections peak.
Alongside other hospitals in England, Dorset County has suspended all non-urgent elective operations from April 15 for at least three months, with some other procedures likely to be rescheduled before.
Urgent and emergency cases and cancer treatments will be carrying on as normal.
Visiting hours have also been limited to help reduce the risk of the spread of infection and ensure patient safety.
All wards, visiting hours will be restricted to 3pm to 8pm only and visitors are limited to one per patient. Visitors may only stay for a maximum of one hour during each visit. Any exceptions will need to be agreed by the nurse in charge.
In wards where higher level restrictions are necessary, there will be no visitors allowed. No children under 12 should visit any adult ward without the charge nurse’s prior permission.
Visitors are being asked to use the gels and sinks in public areas to wash and clean their hands when entering and leaving the hospital site and after any contact with patients.