Norovirus concern continues

By a County Press reporter

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

 

FRESH cases of norovirus were diagnosed at St Mary’s Hospital at the weekend, however the outbreak has been brought under control, according to Isle of Wight NHS Trust.

A spokeswoman confirmed a review at the weekend had detected a handful of new cases and visitor restrictions would continue.

The trust resumed scheduled operations yesterday (Monday) and said day surgery, outpatient appointments and clinics remained unaffected and patients should attend as normal, but must only access the main hospital via the main entrance.

Alan Sheward, executive director of nursing and workforce said: "Even though the outbreak has been brought under control within the hospital and we are only seeing a few cases, we are very worried about the spread of norovirus in the community.

"It is essential that visitors, staff and volunteers continue to follow the guidelines to prevent infection. Washing hands with soap and water is the most effective way to control norovirus but we also need to keep other germs out of St. Mary’s and that is why we encourage everyone to undertake both hand washing and alcohol gel actions at the hospital."

The only area currently closed to new admissions is general rehabilitation.

The following visiting restrictions continue:

• Anyone who has had symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhoea, must not come into the hospital until they have been clear of those symptoms for at least 48 hours

• All visiting to the main hospital (not just to the wards closed to new admissions) is restricted to essential visiting only. A time to visit must be agreed with the Ward Manager in advance. Wards should be contacted via the Hospital Switchboard.

• Access to the main hospital for patients and visitors continues to be only via the main entrance. It is therefore better to park closer to the main entrance if you have mobility issues or arrange to be dropped at the main entrance before cars are parked.

• Visitors and patients are asked to ensure they cleanse their hands on entering and leaving the hospital (this stops other germs) and entering and leaving clinical areas. This must be a mixture of both hand gel (at the main entrance) and using soap and water in available hand basins either in toilets or on the ward being visited.

• No more than two visitors per patient

• Children under the age of 16 and elderly or vulnerable adults should not visit unless necessary

Patients visiting the Beacon Health Centre and Emergency Department should only be accompanied by one other person if possible.

The trust said it was vital anyone who felt unwell with vomiting and/or diarrhoea, or who had been in contact with anyone with diarrhoea and vomiting stay at home for at least 48 hours after the symptoms stop to avoid the spread of infection.

Keeping hydrated and drinking plenty of fluids is very important, particularly for the elderly and the very young who are most at risk. If the symptoms persist, telephone NHS 111. Further details of symptoms are available on the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk

Good hand hygiene using soap and water is important during outbreaks of norovirus as it is highly contagious. Thorough cleaning of hard surfaces with a bleach solution, paying particular attention to the toilet and toilet area, will help to reduce the spread of the virus.

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