A NEW Forest hospice has been forced to close after 12 staff tested positive for coronavirus.

Oakhaven Hospice in Pennington has closed after a number of clinical and support staff showed symptoms of the virus at the start of the month.

All of the 80 workers were tested for the illness at Lymington Hospital and of this number, 12 tested positive.

The hospice has since closed its in-patient unit and a deep-clean is being carried out throughout the building.

New Forest Post:

At the time of the closure, the hospice only had one patient in the in-patient unit, who was due to be discharged soon.

Referrals to the unit have stopped and the hospice is due to reopen on Monday so staff can continue to care for 300 patients in the community.

The hospice had already closed its gardens and reduced visitors, as well as enforcing social distancing, and only essential staff had been working at the in-patient unit.

The hospice is currently in talks with the NHS about implementing an ongoing testing programme which would see all patients tested on admission and discharge.