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Norfolk hospital confirms it has five cases of coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 13:00 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:05 18 March 2020

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn has stopped visitors to their hospital with a few exceptions. Picture: QEH

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn has stopped visitors to their hospital with a few exceptions. Picture: QEH

Archant

Cases of the coronavirus at a Norfolk hospital have increased to five.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) at King’s Lynn said on Tuesday it was cancelling all routine appointments, with patients being dealt with by phone so it could prioritise cancer treatment and urgent cases.

QEH chief nurse Libby McManus said: “We can confirm that we are caring for five patients who are Covid-19 positive.

“An extensive ‘contact tracing’ exercise is now under way to trace anyone who might have had close contact with the patient who has now tested positive for Covid-19. This includes patients, their relatives and staff.

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Notices about the suspension of visiting at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn, Picture: SubmittedNotices about the suspension of visiting at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn, Picture: Submitted

“Close contacts to the patients concerned will be given health advice about symptoms and what to do if they become unwell in the 14 days after they had contact with the confirmed case. This tried and tested method will ensure that any risk to them is minimised and the wider public is protected.

“In light of the new advice on social distancing – notably our patients being advised not to use public transport unless strictly necessary and to avoid crowded areas – we are prioritising cancer and clinically urgent patients.

“This means all routine (non-urgent) outpatient appointments will be carried out by phone, where safe to do so, and patients should assume their appointments have been cancelled unless they hear from us otherwise.

“Only surgery relating to cancer or clinically-urgent cases will go ahead as planned. We will rearrange operations as soon as possible and apologise to patients for any inconvenience or distress this causes.

A coronavirus unit at the QEH  Picture: Chris BishopA coronavirus unit at the QEH Picture: Chris Bishop

“Visiting restrictions remain in place at QEH. Exceptions include visitors to children’s wards, maternity and neonates and relatives and friends visiting patients who are approaching end of life.

“We have asked our ward managers to use their discretion when giving access to visitors.

“Based on current evidence, Covid-19 presents with flu-like symptoms including a new and continuous cough and/or a high temperature.

MORE: People self-isolating must ask for help says Norfolk’s public health chief

“To protect yourself, please be scrupulous with your hygiene and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth and use and then bin tissues if you cough or sneeze.

“Thorough hand washing will help to reduce the spread of Covid-19. If you have to come into hospital, please use the handwash basins in the main entrance and hand gel.”

The first cases of Covid-19 were confirmed at the QEH on Saturday.

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