Published on: 9 March 2020

Statement from Dr Paul McAndrew, Deputy Medical Director at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust:


“We can confirm that we are currently caring for a patient who has tested positive for the COVID-19 infection.  They are being very safely cared for by our highly skilled team at South Tyneside District Hospital and all of the appropriate protection measures are in place.


“As always, our prime concern is to respect patient confidentiality at all times and we would ask the media to do the same.


“It is very much business as usual across the Trust.”


The Trust will not be giving any further updates on this matter at this time.


Frequently asked questions


Is the hospital open as normal?

Yes. The hospital is open as normal and we would ask that you continue to attend your appointments. All NHS Trusts are well prepared for Coronavirus and are working closely with NHS England, Public Health England and the Department of Health.


Are there any restrictions to visiting?

Visiting at our hospitals is not affected by the current situation.

What is coronavirus and should I be concerned?

A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019.

Generally, COVID-19 can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people recover from the disease without needing special treatment.

Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.


What can I do to reduce my risk of catching COVID-19?

There are things you can do to help stop germs like COVID-19 spreading:

  • always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel
  • wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds each time with soap and water or hand sanitiser, especially when you:
  • get home or into work
  • blow your nose, sneeze or cough
  • eat or handle food
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Is hand sanitiser effective?

The best way to protect yourself from infections like COVID-19 is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water. If soap or water aren’t available and your hands are visibly clean, then sanitiser gel can be used. But proper hand washing is the most effective method and this should be your first choice.

Should people wear face masks to protect themselves from infection?

Face masks play a very important role in clinical settings, such as hospitals but there’s very little evidence of widespread benefit from their use outside of these clinical settings. Facemasks must be worn correctly, changed frequently, removed properly and disposed of safely in order to be effective.

What is the latest travel advice?


The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is currently advising against all travel to Hubei Province, and against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China. If you’re in China and able to leave, you should do so. See the latest travel advice for China.

The FCO is also advising:

  • against all travel to the cities of Daegu, Cheongdo and Gyeongsan in South Korea
  • against all but essential travel to 10 small towns in the Lombardy region and 1 in the Veneto region of Italy
    See the latest travel advice for South Korea and Italy.
    The FCO is not advising against travel to any other country/territory as a result of coronavirus risks.
    FCO travel advice remains under constant review to ensure it reflects the latest assessment of risks to British people.

What should I do if I have returned from one of the affected countries?

You should refer to the latest Government advice - and follow guidance regarding self-isolation and contacting NHS111 as appropriate. If you need to be tested for COVID-19 this will be arranged via NHS111. Please do not come into hospital / urgent care or GP surgeries if you suspect you may have COVID-19.

What happens if I’m tested for COVID-19?

A doctor or nurse will swab your nose and throat if you need testing for COVID-19.  These samples are then safely transported to one of our labs.  Testing starts when your sample reaches the lab; it takes 24-48 hours for testing to be done.  Once the result is available, it is sent back to your doctor or nurse who will let you know the result and give you advice on what to do next.