AN NHS Ayrshire & Arran hospital ward has been forced to lock down after the health board confirmed that a number of cases had been detected in staff and patients.

It is believed that as many as 22 cases have been connected to a ward in University Hospital Ayr, prompting a deep clean and affected staff self-isolating at home. 

READ MORE: Arran visitors and residents told to follow the guidance after coronavirus cases

A statement by Medical Director Dr Crawford McGuffie reads: "NHS Ayrshire & Arran can confirm that a number of cases connected to a ward in University Hospital Ayr have tested positive for COVID-19.

"Affected staff, patients and their families have been informed."

All patients who tested positive for the virus have been transferred to a dedicated Covid-19 ward, the health board has said, where "appropriate infection control measures" are in place. 

HeraldScotland:

Meanwhile, staff who tested positive have been "excluded from duty" and told to isolate at home, in line with national Test and Protect requirements.

Dr McGuffie added that a programme of screening asymptompatic patients and staff is now in place and stressed all necessary measures are being taken to protect all those within the hospital.

He said: "We have notified Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection Scotland (ARHAIS) of the incident in line with the national reporting requirements.

"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."