BOSSES at the Countess of Chester Hospital are continuing to monitor an outbreak of norovirus which has led to a ban on visitors across the site.
Security officers were posted on access roads into the hospital on Friday to turn visitors away before they parked up.
The decision to close the hospital was taken because norovirus, which causes sickness and diarrhoea, has affected patients on three wards.
Chief executive Peter Herring said: “We had to try and clamp down on visiting otherwise it comes in from the community. We hope to reduce the spread of norovirus and will keep monitoring it day-by-day.”
He hoped it may be possible to ease restrictions later this week.
Mr Herring said the decision to stop all visiting was ‘not taken lightly’, especially because he knew it would lead to unfounded rumours that it was due to swine flu.
But Mr Herring was unaware of a single case of swine flu in the whole of Western Cheshire.
“It is absolutely nothing to do with swine flu whatsoever,” added Mr Herring, who said ward managers were still able to use their discretion over whether to allow in visitors who had travelled a long distance or in cases where a patient was seriously ill.
Restricting access was necessary in a bid to reduce the spread of the illness, which is extremely infectious. New patient admissions are not being allowed on the affected wards. Some staff have also exhibited symptoms.
Visiting restrictions have been applied with increasing regularity in recent times due to norovirus. A similar ban on all visitors was imposed last year.
Mr Herring said he would like research carried out to see whether this area is ‘particularly badly affected’.