Hospital to lift visiting ban after 11 days as norovirus outbreak eases

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A BAN on visitors at Chesterfield Royal Hospital is to be finally lifted today, 11 days after health bosses reacted to an outbreak of the norovirus vomiting bug.

The restriction, introduced to try to control the spread of the contagious disease, will be lifted in time for the afternoon visiting slot from 2.30pm to 4.30pm and the evening slot at 6.30pm to 8pm.

The visitor ban will remain in place on just one ward - the Pearson ward - which still has patients with cases of norovirus.

When the measure was introduced, eight wards were affected.

Since last Monday all patients in the hospital, except children and patients receiving palliative care, have been barred from receiving visitors.

Chief nurse Alfonzo Tramontano said: “This has been a very difficult situation and the decision to close to visitors was one of the hardest we’ve ever had to take.

“As norovirus is not a hospital-acquired infection, and spreads through person-to-person contact, the best way to contain it was to reduce the flow of people to essential personnel only.

“Protecting our patients’ safety and health is paramount and we would like to thank everybody, including patients, staff and the wider community, for their help, co-operation and understanding throughout this period.”

Norovirus, an extremely contagious virus which causes vomiting and diarrhoea, has affected every hospital in the region this winter. It spreads easily through personal contact, water and food and most hospitals have had to close entire wards at some point because of the bug’s onset over the last few months.

Doctors in Chesterfield have asked visitors to remember they should not visit if they are ill, should not bring food and drink on to the wards, and should wash their hands before entering and leaving.

The hospital is considering reducing visiting hours to two one-hour slots per day, to reduce the risk of further spread of infections.

Managers have launched a poll on the hospital’s Facebook site to ask patients what they think about the reduced visiting times. Visit www.facebook.com/chesterfieldroyal