Wards closed due to vomiting bug reopen but monitoring continues

Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry (Picture by William Cherry/ PressEye.com)
Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry (Picture by William Cherry/ PressEye.com)
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The Western Health and Social Care Trust has confirmed that wards closed to admission due to the winter vomiting bug have now reopened.

However they cautioned that all wards are still being closely monitored, with the norovirus still causing widespread sickness across the region.

The prevalence of the highly contagious virus last month led to several wards at Altnagelvin Hospital and the Waterside Hospital in Gransha being closed to new admissions, while several others were only partially open.

In an update on the current situation last night, a spokesperson for the Western Health and Social Care Trust said:

“The Trust is continuing to carefully monitor all wards as Norovirus is still affecting people within the general community but there are no wards closed as a result of Norovirus at this time.”

He added: “It is important that you do not visit any of our hospitals if you or someone in your household, has symptoms of Norovirus.

“Norovirus is commonly known as the winter vomiting and diarrhoea bug.

“As Norovirus symptoms continue to be prevalent in the community it is important that all visitors thoroughly wash their hands before and after visiting with soap and water, visit only one patient whilst at the hospital not moving from ward to ward and refrain from sitting on hospital beds.”

A number of special measures were taken and implemented across the Western Trust facilities over recent weeks in order to minimise the risk of the virus spreading to more patients and staff.

These included an awareness campaign among the community, the use of special protective clothing among staff, and other increased infection control measures such as the isolation of symptomatic patients, and increased and enhanced cleaning and limiting the movement of staff between wards unless absolutely necessary.

The Trust spokesman said: “The Western Health and Social Care Trust would like to thank all site visitors and staff for their continued cooperation and would encourage you to get more information on how to help yourself ‘Stay Well’ this winter visit: www.nidirect.gov.uk/stay-well or email stay well@hscni.net.

The symptoms of Norovirus usually last between 24 and 48 hours and include the sudden onset of forceful vomiting, diarrhoea or loose bowel movements, raised temperature and feeling flushed, and general tiredness or feeling unwell. Those with the virus are urged to restrict contact with others for 48 hours after becoming symptom free.