HOSPITALS in Frimley, Guildford and Basingstoke have reported COVID-19 related deaths in recent days.
An elderly woman, who was aged in her 80s, died at Frimley Park Hospital on Thursday after testing positive for COVID-19.
Three patients being treated for the virus have also died at the Royal Surrey County Hospital: two aged 99 and 66 years old on Friday, and a third aged 89 on Saturday.
And two further COVID-19 related fatalities, a man and woman aged 82 and 78 respectively, were reported at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital on Saturday last week (March 15).
All had underlying health conditions.
More than a thousand, 1,035, extra cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the UK on Saturday, taking the total number of cases nationwide to 5,018.
This includes 138 in Hampshire, up 31 on a day earlier, and 65 in Surrey, up 8 – as of 9am on Saturday, March 21.
To-date, 233 deaths in the UK have been linked to the virus, while 93 patients have already made a full recovery after contracting the virus.
To cope with the increasing strain, NHS England announced on Saturday that, from next week, nearly 20,000 staff will join the NHS response to the pandemic and more beds and ventilators will also be made available.
A deal struck between NHS England and the nation’s independent hospitals will provide 8,000 more hospital beds, nearly 1,200 more ventilators, more than 10,000 nurses, more than 700 doctors and more than 8,000 other clinical staff to hospitals across the country.
National Trust properties across the UK, including Hinton Ampner, Uppark House, Winkworth Arboretum and The Vyne locally, closed their gates on Saturday amid an anticipated upsurge in visitors for Mothering Sunday.
The move follows the closure of pubs, restaurants, cafes, gyms and leisure centres announced by the government on Friday, and tightening travel restrictions and public health advice.
National Trust countryside and coastal locations, including Frensham Little Pond, remain open however, with parking charges waived.
Surrey Police has reported an upsurge in phone calls from people reporting social premises remaining open and flouting the Government’s announcement – but has urged the public to not call 999 or 111 to report this.
The force posted online: "We’re getting a number of calls about certain premises that are still open following yesterday’s Government announcement. Officers and PCSOs are reminding premises of the Government advice if they are found open.
"However, some cafes and restaurants will be operating a takeaway service which is not affected by the measures. These are challenging times and we do ask that you keep our 101/999 lines free for those that need us. Thank you."
The Herald has launched a directory of such takeaway and home delivery services, which is free for local businesses to enter and will be published in next week’s print edition (on sale Thursday, March 26). To take part, email some details of your eatery’s new food service to [email protected].
Stockpiling in supermarkets is finally on the wane, checkout staff in Farnham and Alton have told the Herald.
Although stock of certain items such as toilet paper, anti-bacterial products and fresh groceries and meat remain low, initiatives such as exclusive shopping hours for at-risk groups and limiting bulk purchases to three items only have helped ease the pressure.
The arrangements, including amended opening hours, vary from store to store – so check with your local store.
Many items are also readily available at many of the area's smaller independent retailers, including butchers, bakeries and convenience stores.
It comes after UK environment secretary George Eustice urged shoppers to be considerate amid panic buying in supermarkets in the latest government announcement on Saturday (March 21).
Farnham Town Council has also confirmed Farnham Farmers Market is set to go ahead as planned on Sunday morning, from 10am to 1.30pm in Central car park - albeit with added social distancing precautions.
A council spokesman said: “Farnham Town Council is keen to support local producers at this difficult time and asks shoppers to take note of precautionary guidance designed to protect stallholders and other shoppers.”
Do you have any acts of kindness or tales of community spirit you would like to share in the face of the national adversity? Do you have a great idea for whiling away the hours at home or keeping the kids busy under lockdown?