The Ross Memorial Hospital has put visitor restrictions in place on the medical unit (third gloor) due to an outbreak of what is suspected to be Norovirus.
Since March 1, six patients and more than a dozen healthcare providers have become ill, with symptoms including nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps and headache.
On March 7, an outbreak was declared by the RMH outbreak team in conjunction with the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit. The Hospital is taking special measures to control the spread of the illness, including heightened attention to personal protective equipment and special cleaning procedures.
Patients will not be admitted to the medical unit, nor will patients be transferred from the unit unless clinically required.
Limiting the amount of people walking through the unit is an important step. This includes volunteers, student clinical placements — and visitors.
“We recognize the important role visitors play in our patients’ healing and recovery,” says Anne Overhoff, vice president patient care and chief nursing officer.
“We regret having to restrict visitors on the medical unit, but it’s important that we prevent the spread of these germs, not only to our patients and staff, but to visitors and the community. By taking these steps, we hope to resolve this outbreak as quickly as possible. In the meantime, we encourage our patients’ loved ones to call or send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. The emails are hand delivered every weekday.”
Norovirus has an incubation period of two to three days. People are contagious as long as their symptoms persist.
Signs and symptoms of norovirus infection include:
- Abdominal pain or cramps
- Watery or loose diarrhea
- Low-grade fever
- Muscle pain
Signs and symptoms usually begin 12 to 48 hours after first exposure to the virus and last one to three days.
Methods of transmission include:
- Eating contaminated food
- Drinking contaminated water
- Touching your hand to your mouth after it was in contact with a contaminated surface or object
- Being in close contact with a person who has a norovirus infection
Noroviruses are difficult to eliminate because they can withstand hot and cold temperatures as well as most disinfectants.