Exeter’s Nightingale Hospital will receive its first coronavirus patients on Thursday.
The hospital will admit patients transferred from the “very busy” Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, officials have confirmed.
It comes as government figures show the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital in the South West has steadily risen over the past few weeks.
On October 1, 34 patients were reported as being in hospital. A month later on November 1, that number leapt to 437.
The hospital is one of seven Nightingale Hospitals built in England to cope with the pandemic.
Building work on the 116-bed Nightingale Hospital was completed on the site of a former retail unit in July. It was used for diagnostic tests during the summer.
A spokesperson from the hospital said: “The Nightingale Exeter will accept patients tomorrow who will be transferred from the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust (RD&E), which is very busy.
“We would ask that the public continue to observe the government’s advice on observing the lockdown and social distancing so that we can keep patients safe.”
Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw welcomed the news, adding that he had recently raised the issue with health secretary Matt Hancock.
Very good news that the #Exeter #NightingaleHospital is finally opening for patients tomorrow to take pressure of the @RDEhospitals & other local #NHS services to cope with unprecedented #Covid19UK pressures. Something I raised with @MattHancock two weeks’ ago.
— Ben Bradshaw (@BenPBradshaw) November 25, 2020
Bradshaw tweeted: “Very good news that the Exeter Nightingale hospital is finally opening for patients tomorrow to take pressure off the RD&E hospitals and other local NHS services to cope with unprecedented Covid-19 UK pressures.”
The government is expected to announce which tier of restrictions each area will go into when the current lockdown ends on December 2.
Boris Johnson revealed a revised, tougher version of the three tier system of coronavirus restrictions on Monday. The system is set to last until the end of March, the PM said.
On Wednesday, the UK’s daily coronavirus death toll neared 700 for the first time in six months.
The deaths of 696 people who had tested positive for Covid-19 in the previous 28 days marked the highest death toll since May 5, when 726 new deaths were reported.
It also brings the UK’s total death toll to 56,533 – the fifth highest in the world.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.