VISITORS to the Countess of Chester Hospital have been asked to stay away from ward 51 in a bid to stop the spread of a virus which causes vomiting and diarrhoea.
The ward was closed to new admissions and visitors on Monday (August 4) in order to tackle the 48-hour norovirus – often dubbed “winter vomiting virus” because it is more likely to develop as an illness during the winter months.
Medics confirmed 16 out of 28 patients have the virus with five exhibiting the symptoms.
Countess spokesman Stephen Winterson said patient safety was the trust’s primary concern, so visiting infectious patients had to be strictly controlled.
Dr Virginia Clough, medical director and director of infection prevention and control, said: “Infection control procedures are in place and the position is stable. We are working to control the outbreak and return to normal as soon as possible.”
The Countess suffered an earlier outbreak of norovirus in January this year when it caused the partial closure of four wards.
Strict infection control measures were implemented in three wards used for cardio, gastro and orthopaedics. No visitors were allowed except by prior arrangement with the nurse in charge.
The HPA North West is urging people with the virus to avoid taking it into GP surgeries, hospitals and residential care homes.
Visitors who need to visit a critically ill patient should contact the ward manager via the hospital switchboard on 01244 365000 or speak to staff on main reception who will provide assistance.
If you are worried about vomiting and diarrhoea symptoms, call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or ask for a telephone consultation with your GP.