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Norfolk hospital wards affected by seasonal virus

PUBLISHED: 16:19 07 March 2014 | UPDATED: 10:19 08 March 2014

Staff sickness cost West Norfolk £370,000 last year.

Staff sickness cost West Norfolk £370,000 last year.

Archant © 2006

Visitors to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn today are being asked to take extra infection control precautions before going onto wards to help contain an outbreak of diarrhoea and vomiting currently affecting some areas of the hospital.

In addition to using anti-bacterial hand gel at key points in the building, visitors will be asked to wash their hands thoroughly on entering and leaving wards.

In addition, the limit of no more than two visitors at a bedside at any one time will be strictly enforced.

Children under the age of 12 will not be allowed onto wards for the time being.

The new restrictions come in the wake of the closure of Oxborough ward to new admissions and transfers.

This is because a number of patients have symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting, which in some cases has been confirmed as norovirus, the ‘winter vomiting’ bug.

A further bay on West Raynham ward has also been closed while patients still display similar symptoms.

Interim chief operating officer at the QEH, Andrew Stenton, said: “We do not like to impose restrictions on visitors but we hope they will understand that we need to prevent the spread of seasonal viruses and to keep other patients safe.

“The position is constantly under review and wards will be re-opened once they have cleared the quarantine period.

“While diarrhoea and vomiting remains widespread in the community we would ask that anyone who is currently affected or who has been in close contact with those who have, should postpone visiting the hospital until they have been clear of symptoms for at least 48 hours.”

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