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Norovirus causes wards to close at Norfolk hospitals

PUBLISHED: 16:45 11 January 2012 | UPDATED: 17:56 11 January 2012

Regular handwashing is vital to avoid the spread of norovirus.

Regular handwashing is vital to avoid the spread of norovirus.

Archant

THREE wards at the James Paget University Hospital have been forced to close after an outbreak of Norovirus.

How to stop it spreading

The virus is easily spread by contact with an infected person, especially through their hands. You can also catch it through contaminated food or drink or by touching contaminated surfaces or objects.

You should, wash your hands frequently, do not share towels and flannels and disinfect any surfaces that an infected person has touched.

Patients going into A&E are experiencing longer waiting times for assessment and admissions into hospital are also being delayed.

The hospital is urging anyone who needs medical treatment for minor injury and illness not to automatically go to A&E but consider other healthcare options.

Three wards are currently closed as a result of Norovirus and the number of cases going into the hospital has increased in recent days.

A spokesman for the JPH said: “The seasonal increase in Norovirus and the closure of wards has added to the pressures we are currently facing.”

Some patients visiting the hospital for elective surgery have had to have their treatment postponed.

Visitors are asked to wash their hands with soap and water when entering and leaving a ward, to visit only one ward, not to sit on the beds and not to eat or drink while visiting a ward.

Anyone with symptoms of sickness and diarrhoea are asked not to visit the hospital until their illness has passed.

Director of Nursing at the James Paget hospital, Carole Crocker, said: “It is regrettable that some routine elective surgery has again been affected and we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this might cause for some patients, especially those who have had a previous cancellation.

“A high level of illness within the local community has led to increased demand on the hospital and some patients have conditions which require them to stay in hospital for longer. This has led to a fall in the number of discharges from the Trust and placed extra demand on our resources. We do not take the decision to cancel surgery lightly, but the level of demand has unfortunately led us to take this step.”

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has four wards closed to new admissions due to norovirus, while the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn has one ward closed and one bay shut on another ward.

The West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds had several wards shut earlier this month, but now has just one bay in one ward affected by norovirus.

If you have to visit and you have vomiting and diarrhoea, contact the Infection Control Team on 01493 452836 and they will take appropriate measures.

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