Norfolk hospital closed to new admissions after flu outbreak
- Credit: submitted
A Norfolk hospital has closed its doors to new admissions due to an outbreak of the flu.
Swaffham Community Hospital will be closed for at least five days, as nationally Public Health England (PHE) urged people to get the flu vaccine.
The authority said: 'Hospitalisation levels are 2.5 times higher than the same point last year. It's not too late to get the flu vaccine.'
Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCHC), which runs Swaffham Community Hopsital, said in the interests of patient safety, the ward will remain closed to admissions for five days from the date of onset of the last case of infection, currently until Monday, January 8.
To help reduce the spread of infection, people have been asked to avoid visiting if possible and visitors who have coughs and colds which could potentially be flu have been asked not to visit friends and relatives until they are better.
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A spokesperson said: 'Patients being cared for on the ward are being monitored and appropriate infection control and prevention measures are in place. Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust apologises for any inconvenience.'
Professor Paul Cosford, PHE medical director, said: 'As we would expect at this time of year flu levels are have increased this week. Our data shows more people are visiting GPs with flu symptoms and we are seeing more people admitted to hospitals with the flu. The vaccine is the best defence we have against the spread of flu and it isn't too late to get vaccinated.
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'People suffering with flu-like symptoms should catch coughs and sneezes in tissues and bin them immediately, wash their hands regularly with soap and warm water and frequently clean regularly used surfaces to stop the spread of flu. Avoid having unnecessary contact with other people if you or they have symptoms of flu.'
Nationally there have been 23 deaths from flu this winter so far. More people suffering with the illness is thought to have contributed to the increased pressure on the NHS over the last two weeks.
An NHS England spokesman said: 'Hospitals, GPs, ambulances and other frontline NHS services have been extremely busy between Christmas and New Year, reporting higher levels of respiratory illness and some indications of increasing patient illness severity and flu.'