AT LEAST 144 people caught Covid-19 while in a hospital run by Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust (HHFT) in December, figures show.

A report to the trust’s board of directors in January reveals that 144 patients in hospitals run by the trust – Basingstoke, Andover, and Winchester – caught the virus while there.

A further eight probably caught the virus in hospital, the report said.

A total of 285 patients were admitted to the trust’s hospitals having caught Covid in the community.

For another 16 patients who tested positive for Covid, the trust was unable to determine whether they caught the virus in the community or in hospital.

In December last year it was reported that the trust had the highest acquired infection rate of coronavirus across England, with nearly 40 per cent of its Covid-19 patients catching the virus while being treated for another illness.

The figures given at the time showed that five of those who caught Covid inside a HHFT hospital died after becoming infected.

The HHFT report said: “Case numbers increased significantly in December reflecting the local prevalence affecting inpatients and staff particularly on BNHH [Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital] and RHCH [Winchester hospital] sites, the situation is currently being managed by a daily outbreak control group including input from West Hampshire CCG, Hampshire County Council Public Health and NHS England/ Improvement regional infection control.”

The Chronicle's sister paper the Basingstoke Gazette has asked the trust for more recent figures for January and February.