Norovirus outbreak at West Cumberland Hospital

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A 3d render of norovirus
A 3d render of norovirus

Visitors are urged to avoid a ward at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven due to an outbreak of norovirus.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is appealing to the community for help in minimising the impact of the ongoing norovirus outbreak.

Norovirus continues to circulate in the community and a small number of patients at the hospital have been affected.

All potential visitors are being asked to refrain from visiting ward 3a until further notice, with the exception of end-of-life patients and patients for whom, at the discretion of the ward staff, it is felt that visiting is essential.

The trust is also appealing for anyone planning to visit either of its hospitals to stay at home if they or their family members have had diarrhoea, vomiting or ‘flu-like’ symptoms in the last two days.

This request is part of the essential measures designed to help control the norovirus situation within the hospital and away from vulnerable patients and staff who could pass it on.

Symptoms of norovirus include diarrhoea and vomiting and, just like flu, the virus can seriously affect vulnerable patients.

Norovirus is highly contagious and can spread rapidly anywhere that people are gathered, such as schools or offices, especially during colder months.

Anna Stabler, deputy director of nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals at the trust, said: “We know that many visitors feel they must take every opportunity to visit sick friends or relatives, but at this time we would ask everyone to please refrain from visiting Ward 3a until further notice.

"We appreciate this is difficult for patients and their loved ones but the more people who pass through our hospitals, the greater risk of the virus spreading and affecting more vulnerable patients and hospital staff.

"Everyone visiting our hospitals are reminded to please follow strict hand washing guidance and ask staff on the ward if unsure of how to minimise the risk of infection.

“If you have had norovirus yourself, please stay away until you have been symptom-free for at least two days.

“If you feel that your visit is essential due to caring for a relative with dementia for example, please contact the ward directly for further advice. We will continue to keep everybody updated on the situation.”

Good hand hygiene can help to limit the spread of the infection.

If you have norovirus, the best thing you can do is rest, and drink plenty of non-caffeinated drinks to avoid dehydration.

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