Patients in isolation as illness sweeps hospital
An outbreak of illness, suspected to be norovirus, continues to spread at Wairau Hospital in Blenheim, with a further nine staff members struck down by vomiting and diarrhoea.
Two hospital patients have been placed in isolation as a precaution.
Wairau Hospital clinical nurse and infection control specialist Denise Bush said anyone with norovirus symptoms must not visit the hospital.
However, given the close personal care provided by nurses, it was difficult to remove all risk of infection, Ms Bush said.
The staff were from different hospital wards, she said.
"That makes me think some of these staff acquired the bug from contact in the community rather than in a hospital setting. Norovirus is one of those bugs that likes to cluster where people cluster so hospitals are a great place for it. We are being pro-active and telling people to stay away if they have symptoms."
On Tuesday, Nelson Marlborough medical officer of health Ed Kiddle warned that an outbreak of diarrhoea and vomiting in Marlborough could be norovirus. Three hospital staff and one patient had contracted the virus.
Four people had presented at the emergency department in Blenheim with symptoms, he said. Ms Bush said one more patient had presented to the emergency ward with symptoms on Wednesday but was later sent home.
Anyone with a hospital appointment who had symptoms of norovirus should reschedule their visit, she said.
Those wanting to visit friends or family could speak to patients by telephone. "People coming into the hospital [with symptoms] would be another layer of risk that we don't need in the hospital setting," Ms Bush said.
A Blenheim rest home was closed off on Wednesday after an outbreak of vomiting and diarrhoea.
Redwood Lifestyle Care and Village closed its doors after three residents and four members of staff were struck down by a bug.
Eve Minogue, South Island clinical and quality manager for the Oceania Group, which operates the home, said the lockdown remained in place yesterday.
- The Marlborough Express