Lincoln County Hospital hit by norovirus outbreak

Lincoln County Hospital has had to close three wards to admissions and restrict admissions to four more, because a number of patients and staff have symptoms of the virulent winter vomiting bug known as norovirus.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) has said closure and restricted admissions is a precaution to prevent the spread of the virus.

Beds will reopen for admissions once the patients have either been discharged and/or the area has been symptom-free for 72 hours.

The hospital remains open but the number of wards affected is a changing picture.

Whilst these restrictions are in place the trust has said the situation is being closely monitored and managed.

Those considering visiting a friend or relative in hospital are being asked to ‘think carefully’ about whether they need to come.

Anyone that has experienced diarrhoea, vomiting or flu-like symptoms in the last 72 hours they should not visit.

Staff say it’s important that small children do not visit as they are more at risk and also more likely to transmit the virus.

Michelle Rhodes, Director of Nursing at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “The virus is not uncommon in the winter. These stomach bugs are highly contagious and can spread rapidly in places like hospitals who see hundreds of visitors every day.

“We need to make sure that we protect vulnerable patients and hospital staff so we are asking people to think carefully before visiting hospital if they or anyone in their family has had even mild symptoms of stomach upset in the last 72 hours.

“We know that sometimes people feel that they must take every opportunity to visit their sick friends or relatives, particularly at Christmas. However if they have been unwell, they could be putting others at risk.

“Symptoms of norovirus include diarrhoea and vomiting and, just like flu, the virus can seriously affect vulnerable patients.

“If you have norovirus symptoms, please do not attend A&E. The best thing you can do is rest, and take plenty of non-caffeinated drinks to avoid dehydration.”

People worried about prolonged symptoms should contact NHS 111 or ring their GP, not visit their surgery.

They will be able to provide advice for people who are at greater risk from dehydration from diarrhoea and vomiting, such as children under the age of five or the elderly.