PATIENTS have died after an outbreak of coronavirus in a South Ayrshire hospital ward.

A number of cases of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Biggart Hospital a ward placing a ward in lockdown.

Sadly a small number of patients who contracted the virus have passed away.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran have offered their condolences to the families who have lost loved ones as a result.

Staff have also tested positive for the virus, as the ward is closed to admissions.

Dr Crawford McGuffie, Medical Director said: “NHS Ayrshire and Arran can confirm that a number of cases connected to a ward in Biggart Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19. Affected staff, patients and their families have been informed. Sadly, a small number of patients have died and our condolences are with the families.

“The ward is currently closed to admissions. Patients continue to be cared for with the appropriate infection control measures in place including enhanced environmental disinfection.”

It comes as South Ayrshire recorded 18 deaths between November 23 and November 29.

The region remains locked in Level 4 restrictions which are set to be reviewed next week.

Dr McGuffie has said that Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection Scotland (ARHAIS) have been notified of the outbreak.

He added: “We appreciate this is a very worrying time. However, we would like to assure members of the public that every measure is being taken to protect patients and staff.

“To respect and maintain patient confidentiality it is not possible to release any further information at this time.

“We would like to remind people of the symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19): new persistent cough; high temperature; and / or loss of taste and smell. Anyone who develops any of these symptoms should book a test and self-isolate immediately.”