Posted: Thu 7th Dec 2023

Countess of Chester Hospital seeing rise in norovirus cases, leading to temporary visitor restrictions

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Dec 7th, 2023

In a response to the rising number of norovirus cases, the Countess of Chester Hospital has announced a temporary pause in visiting to all adult acute inpatient areas.

The rise in cases reflects the national trend of increasing norovirus cases, as reported earlier this month by the NHS.

Currently, thirteen patients across Countess of Chester Hospital and Ellesmere Port Hospital are affected by norovirus.

The Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said it has has taken steps to prevent the virus from spreading among a growing number of patients and staff.

The Trust has made exceptions for extremely vulnerable patients, those living with disabilities, or patients at the end of life, and will handle these cases individually.

Visits to critical care, paediatric, neonatal, and obstetric wards in the Women and Children’s Building will continue as usual.

The surge in norovirus cases is compounding the pressures already faced by hospital services.

Often, patients with norovirus need isolation in single rooms or entire wards closed to new admissions to control the spread.

The Countess of Chester Hospital has closed one ward for this reason.

Additionally, the recent freezing temperatures have led to an increase in Emergency Department visits, particularly among the elderly and frail at higher risk of falls and injuries.

Sue Pemberton, Acting Director of Nursing and Quality and Assistant CEO at the Trust, commented on the situation: “We are seeing a higher volume of norovirus cases compared to last year, exacerbated by this week’s cold weather. To contain and control the outbreak, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to temporarily pause visiting.”

Ms Pemberton urged those with concerns about their loved ones to contact the Trust’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) for support.

She emphasised that protecting patients is their top priority and visiting will resume as soon as it is safe.

Norovirus, a stomach bug causing diarrhoea and vomiting, can be prevented by thorough handwashing with soap and water. If affected, resting and staying hydrated is crucial.

The Trust also encourages the public to manage winter pressures by using local NHS services appropriately, calling 999 in emergencies, using NHS 111 for other health conditions, and getting Covid and flu jabs if eligible.

For questions or concerns about loved ones in hospital, the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust PALS can be contacted at 01244 366066 or 0800 195 1241 (option 2), or by email at cochpals@nhs.net.

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