HOSPITALS in Gwent continue to be “very busy” over the Christmas period due to staff absences and coronavirus patients, the health board has said.

As of December 23, 41 inpatients in hospitals across Gwent had tested positive for Covid-19 within the past two weeks.

A “small number” of these are being cared for in the intensive care unit at the Grange University Hospital, while another “small number” have tested positive for the Omicron variant, the Anuerin Bevan University Health Board confirmed.

A total of 204 Omicron cases have been reported so far in Gwent, Public Health Wales confirmed on Boxing Day – the latest available data – with 1,689 cases across Wales.

Staffing levels across the health board have been affected by the coronavirus and self-isolation, although no further detail was given on how heavy this impact was.

READ MORE: More Covid restrictions for Wales on Boxing Day as rule of six set to return.

A spokesperson for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said: “We currently have 41 inpatients in our hospitals who have tested positive for Covid-19 within the past 14 days, with a small number of these patients having tested positive for the Omicron variant.

“A small number of our Covid-19 patients are currently being cared for at The Grange University Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

“Our hospitals remain very busy, and although the pandemic continues to affect our staffing levels, our staff are working very hard to manage this ongoing demand.

“We would urge local residents to follow Welsh Government guidance on celebrating safely this Christmas, and to ensure they take up the offer of a vaccination as soon as they are invited, so that we can minimise cases of Covid-19 and the Omicron variant in our communities.”