A NUMBER of new cases of the winter vomiting bug have been confirmed at University Hospital Limerick, as visiting restrictions remain in place for a fifth consecutive day.
Visiting restrictions are in place at UHL and in the acute psychiatric ward 5B, following last Wednesday’s outbreak.
On Monday afternoon, two patients at UHL were confirmed with the norovirus, with a further three patients showing symptoms. A spokesperson for the UL Hospitals Group said that “a handful of staff” are also on sick leave, after reporting gastrointestinal symptoms.
Symptoms of the virus include short-lasting outbreaks of abdominal pain and nausea followed by diarrhoea and/or vomiting.
A spokesperson for the UL Hospitals Group said that people experiencing these symptoms should avoid presenting at the emergency department, and are advised to contact their GP.
A HSE spokesperson said that five patients in 5B have been put in isolation following the outbreak.
“Four are post-symptomatic with one of the five patients currently symptomatic,” the HSE spokesperson said.
On Monday evening, the HSE also confirmed that nearly 40% of patients in the 5B unit were showing symptoms of the vomiting bug. In total, 12 of the 32 patients are showing symptoms of the norovirus. Three cases have been confirmed.
The HSE stated that 12 staff are also showing symptoms, though none have been confirmed.
The UL Hospitals spokesperson said: “As norovirus is also currently present in the community and can be carried in to the hospital by patients or visitors, it is necessary to restrict visiting at UHL to critically unwell patients. Parents visiting children are unaffected by the restrictions but are advised not to bring siblings.
“All infection control measures are in place and every effort is being made to manage and contain the spread of the virus. Patients are being isolated and cohorted as appropriate and a number of beds have been closed to admissions in accordance with IP&C protocols. This is expected impact on bed capacity over the coming days as the situation is managed.
A HSE spokesperson told the Leader that “all best practise recommendations regarding containment have been applied, for example isolation of symptomatic patients, restrictions to admission and visitors, deep cleaning, hand hygiene and good infection control measures, etc.”