Hawke's Bay Hospital ward in lockdown to stop norovirus spread

Source: 1News

A ward at Hawke’s Bay Hospital has gone into lockdown as it deals with an outbreak of the highly contagious norovirus, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

A hospital ward (file photo).

Nine patients and eight staff have so far come down with the infection and it has put its 38-bed Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation Unit (AT&R) into isolation as a precaution.

Chief Medical and Dental Officer, Dr Robin Whyman, says no other patients or staff in the AT&R have so far been affected.

“People attending the hospital for care can be assured that the strict infection, prevention and control measures ensure their safety, but waiting times may be extended as a result of the pressure on the hospital system,” says Dr Whyman.

The hospital is urging anyone with any kind of stomach bug or flu-like symptoms to not visit friends or family.

Meanwhile, while there have not yet been any confirmed reports of norovirus in the community, there are concerns about a stomach bug that has been circulating at childhood centres in recent days.

“Three separate early childhood centres in Napier and Hastings have reported they are currently managing gastro-type illness and we are providing advice and support to these centres,” says Medical Officer of Health, Dr Nick Jones.

He advises anyone who experiences nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or stomach cramps to stay away from work or school for 48 hours and to seek medical attention if their condition worsens or they become dehydrated.

They’re asked to phone ahead to their doctor or other health practice if they are concerned.

Dr Jones says washing your hands thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds, can help to prevent the bug from spreading.