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Suspected Norovirus At Timaru Hospital

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Suspected Norovirus At Timaru Hospital

Timaru Hospital is currently managing an outbreak of vomiting and diarrhoea in three wards, possibly due to norovirus.

About 15 patients and six members of staff have experienced symptoms of vomiting and/or diarrhoea since Saturday. The sick patients are located in either the Surgical Ward, Medical Ward or AT&R ward (Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation).

South Canterbury DHB Chief Executive Chris Fleming says the hospital is awaiting the results of tests to determine whether or not norovirus is the cause of the illness, but is treating it as a norovirus outbreak in the meantime as a precaution.

"Norovirus is always circulating in the community and there is always a risk that someone carrying the virus will visit a relative in a hospital or rest home and trigger an outbreak. That is why it's vitally important that visitors stay away if they have had symptoms like vomiting and diarrhoea."

On advice from infection control experts, the hospital has decided to take the following actions:

Timaru Hospital has been closed to visitors except when the visit is essential (for example on compassionate grounds, if the visitor is the partner of a woman giving birth or is the parent of a sick child).

All affected patients have been placed in isolation and staff are following infection control guidelines to restrict the spread of the bug. This includes more frequent cleaning and sterilisation, the use of alcohol hand gel and the wearing of plastic aprons, gloves and masks in some circumstances.

Everyone entering the hospital will be asked to use alcohol hand gel on entering and leaving. Signs have been put up at entrances.

At this stage, all elective surgery and outpatient appointments are going ahead unless the patient is contacted personally to say otherwise. Please turn up for your appointment unless you hear from us.

In summary, do come to the hospital if you need emergency treatment or have an appointment. Don't come to the hospital if you are planning to visit a patient and that visit is not essential.

If you experience vomiting or diarrhoea, please contact your GP or after hours service for advice on 03 684-8209.

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