HUNDREDS of people in Hampshire have lost their lives to coronavirus and many more have tested positive.

While lockdown is gradually being eased, hospital bosses say the fight against Covid-19 may not be over.

Hampshire Hospitals, which runs Winchester, Basingstoke and Andover hospitals, says plans are already being prepared to ensure the trust can cope at its sites if a second wave occurs.

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Chief executive Alex Whitfield said: “We are absolutely planning for a second wave, we really hope that it doesn’t happen, but we would be foolish not to be prepared and so there is quite a raft of things going on both regionally and locally in the organisation.

“We have been asked about an additional 10 intensive care beds and how we can step them up, and we’ve identified the locations and the kit we would need in order to do that.”

In the coronavirus fight the trust has been training nurses from other departments to be able to work on the critical care units in Winchester and Basingstoke. Up to 90 nurses are said to have gone through the training.

“We’ve been doing things like our critical care academy where a number of nursing staff have been through an upskilling training programme to enable them to support the critical care team,” Ms Whitfield said.

“We have been doing it for the first wave, but we’ve been able to invest a bit more time in this period.”

She added: “We are making sure that we are learning all the lessons from the first wave and building on them in preparation for a second wave should it come.”

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Coronavirus testing pod outside Winchester hospital's A&E department in February

Outside the trust, West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has continued partnerships with hotels and independent providers to offer more hospital beds.

A NHS spokesperson said: “We continue to work with partners to make sure we are as prepared as possible for any increase in demand for services, and any need to change the way we work as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Currently there are several locations with extra bed capacity in Hampshire still operating under government guidelines, and we have a plan in place to respond to further Covid-19 cases locally.”

It comes as visitors are being allowed back on the wards at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital as it sees fewer patients with coronavirus.

Just one visitor will be allowed for each patient and advance bookings will have to be made.

But hospital bosses have warned against complacency and said strict social distancing and hygiene measures must still be followed.

Healthcare staff will also be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and there may be clear Perspex screens between bed spaces.