THE chief executive of the trust which runs Rotherham Hospital said staff were as well prepared as they could be as preparations to tackle the virus were ramped up another notch.
Hospital trust chief executive Dr Richard Jenkins said the hospital teams had taken all the steps expected of them - but admitted the weeks ahead would be testing.
"The gravity of the situation we face is unprecedented in the history of the NHS," he said.
"We are as well-prepared as we can be and have taken all the steps expected of us, but is still going to test us.
"Our teams are already working around the clock and I would ask people to help us by staying indoors wherever possible, washing hands and keeping up to date with the latest advice."
He added: The NHS is a great institution and we will come through this, but we need to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to do that, we need everyone's support. Everyone in Rotherham has a part to play."
The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust have been finalising their detailed plans this week to focus their efforts on responding to the pandemic.
Its teams are delivering services at its other centres across Rotherham - and even in people's homes.
George Briggs, chief operating officer at the trust, said they had been working on their response to the virus for several weeks as to make preparations as robust as they can be at this stage.
"Elective appointments and outpatient clinics have had to be cancelled while we refocus our teams in frontline areas and free-up ward capacity," he added.
"We are also seeing former clincial staff returning to the NHS, while many of our senior staff get back into uniform."
"Our message is: 'Please, please support us by staying away from the hospital wherever possible. This will safeguard the site and let our teams get on with the job."
Mr Briggs said one of the trus'ts most difficult decisions had been to stop loved ones' visits to patients, adding: "I know people find this upsetting, but it is vital we protect the hospital site and our patients and staff here.
"In special circumstances like visiting a child or dementia patient, or in an end-of-life scenario, we will allow a single visitor, but we need to keep this under review. "