A ROMSEY nursing home has started to fight back against a coronavirus outbreak after keeping the bug at bay for eight months.

Marie Louise House Nursing Home, Newton Lane, announced 13 residents and 17 staff tested positive for Covid-19, according to a statement on their website from December 23.

This forced the home to go into lockdown, meaning visits from family and friends have been suspended until further notice, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Residents and staff were not vaccinated on December 22 and 23 when Crosfield Hall, Broadwater Road, was transformed into a vaccination hub, due to there being "limited stock" available, the nursing home confirmed.

However, a spokesperson from Marie Louise House Nursing Home revealed staff have now been offered the chance to have the Oxford and AstraZeneca jab on Thursday and Friday at the community hall.

They said: "This has obviously been a challenging time, but we are now focused on doing all we can to help ensure that residents and staff receive a Covid-19 vaccine.

"Staff are already being invited to attend vaccine clinics by our nominated GP surgery (the Abbeywell Surgery) and we hope to have suitable arrangements in place for residents in the very near future."

Romsey Advertiser: The entrance to Marie Louise HouseThe entrance to Marie Louise House

They added: "Appointments are simultaneously being booked for the 12 week follow up clinics for the booster dose on March 25 and 26.

"We are yet to be notified of the clinics for residents vaccinations, which we anticipate will be conducted in situ at the home in due course."

As reported, the nursing home said the outbreak was discovered on December 8.

"When the pandemic first started, Maire Louise House reported a number of positive cases; however the home maintained an eight-month period, until the new variant appeared, without any resident or staff member testing positive for the virus.

"This current outbreak within Marie Louise House is obviously a concern for residents, their families, our staff and the charity itself," the spokesperson told the Advertiser.

They stressed staff checks have been increased with the rollout of Lateral Flow Device Testing (LFD), which sees staff tested before they start their shift and results are available within 30 minutes.

They added: "While the home is currently closed to all but essential visits, social engagement and communication between families and residents is supported virtually using iPad and FaceTime; YouTube links to church services provide spiritual support."

This comes after the COVID-19 vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca started to be rolled out on Monday.

Brian Pinker, 82, became the first person in the world to receive the vaccine since it was approved for use in the UK.

Just over half a million doses of the newly approved vaccine became available on Monday, with the Government aiming to administer two million per week.