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Tauranga Hospital has closed Ward 10 for admissions and child visitors, the second to be struck by gastroenteritis (diarrhoea and vomiting).
Ward 5 was closed on Friday after patients and staff tested positive for the virus. Infection control coordinator Adrienne Stewart says six patients and one staff member on ward 10 have tested positive for the virus and the hospital has moved quickly to contain it.
Ward 10 patients are mainly elderly and are particularly vulnerable to infection. Visitors to the ward are being asked to check in with staff before they come into contact with patients and transfers to resthomes or other wards is restricted until the outbreak is contained.
The suspected cause is the highly contagious Norovirus and she is asking members of the public who have signs of tummy bugs not to visit patients in the hospital.
“People in hospital tend to have lowered resistance and the impact of even small infections can seriously impede their recovery,” she says.
“While the illness lasts about two days, the incubation period is 1-4 days and the infected person remains infectious for around two days after the illness has passed.”
Ward 5 is closed to child visitors and all transfers from the ward have been halted until it is infection-free.
“Isolation procedures and precautions are in place for patients showing symptoms of the infection and staff on the ward will not be assigned to other wards during their shifts, to prevent transmission of the infection.”
Anyone suffering the gastroenteritis virus should not return to work or school until they are without symptoms for 48 hours, to help prevent passing the bug to others,” says Ms Stewart.
A key factor in preventing the spread of gastroenteritis is strict handwashing after using the toilet, and before preparing or serving food.
“We are urging people who may have gastroenteritis to avoid visiting friends and family in hospital, while symptoms persist,” says Ms Stewart.
Visitors to Ward 5 are being asked to check in with staff before they come into contact with patients.
“We are working to contain the outbreak and we are asking for the community’s help with keeping these bugs out of our hospital and away from patients,” she says.