West Cumberland Hospital ward still closed after norovirus outbreak
A hospital ward continues to be closed to visitors after an outbreak of norovirus.
Health bosses are asking potential visitors to stay away from ward 4A at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven to help minimise the spread of the virus, which they say has affected a small number of patients.
Visits to end-of-life patients will be at the discretion of ward staff.
North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is also asking visitors to stay away from both the Whitehaven hospital and the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle if they or members of their family have had diarrhoea or vomiting in the last two days.
A spokesman said: "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.
"The trust is mindful of protecting patients’ privacy and dignity as much as possible during an outbreak of this nature."
Symptoms of norovirus include diarrhoea and vomiting, and the virus can seriously affect vulnerable patients. It is highly contagious.
Clive Graham, director of infection prevention and control 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 4A 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 is 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.”
The trust is urging people to wash their hands regularly to help limit the spread of the virus.
Anyone with norovirus is advised to rest and drink plenty of caffeine-free drinks.