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School can return to use as part of field hospital stood down

Penweddig School is getting ready to safely re-open its doors to pupils in September 2020 as Hywel Dda University Health Board gratefully hands back the site to Ceredigion County Council.

The school site was one of two sites at Ysbyty Enfys Aberystwyth which has been on standby since April 2020 to receive COVID-19 patients should there have been a need.

The site has not needed to be used, as cases have remained lower than expected in Ceredigion.

Plascrug Leisure Centre, the other site at Ysbyty Enfys Aberystwyth, will remain in hibernation as a field hospital for the time being in case any further clusters or peaks of cases challenge the local NHS. This is in addition to another ‘hibernating’ field hospital at Ysbyty Enfys Aberteifi which is located on the Cardigan Leisure Centre site.

Chief Executive of Hywel Dda University Health Board Steve Moore said: “We are relieved as a Health Board to be in a position where we can hand back part of one of our field hospitals without having needed to use it.

“We are so grateful to the council, the school, Sodexo, contractors and our own staff from several departments who got this ready at a time when having to use the facility was a real threat to the NHS and our communities. We are also extremely grateful to our communities who followed government restrictions and continue to practice social distancing to keep us safe and keep rates of the infection as low as possible.

“We are not complacent and urge everyone to be vigilant about hand washing and social distancing.

“Should there be any further increase in COVID-19 cases locally, we feel confident that our bed base at Bronglais Hospital, our community hospitals, together with the remaining field hospitals at Plascrug and Cardigan Leisure Centres, will be enough to support potential future needs.”

During the next three weeks building contractors will be busy at the site to return it back to its substantive use as a school.

Chief Executive of Ceredigion County Council Eifion Evans said: “We have been immensely proud of everyone involved in preparing this facility, which was on standby to provide additional capacity should our NHS and our communities have needed it. This has been partnership working at its best.

“We are pleased to hear that some of this capacity can now be safely reinstated to its former use. All measures will be taken to ensure that the school is safely able to receive pupils and teachers in September.”