Patient visits restricted at Lincoln hospital as norovirus outbreak persists

Visiting restrictions have been imposed at Lincoln County Hospital, as staff try to contain the norovirus outbreak that closed several wards there since earlier this month.

A number of medical wards at Lincoln County Hospital are still closed or restricting admissions due to ongoing cases of the bug — with A&E still open, but “exceptionally busy”.

This is a precaution to prevent the spread of the virus, officials say. The affected areas will reopen to admissions once the patients have either been discharged and/or the area has been symptom free for 72 hours.

Restrictions are also being placed on the number of visitors permitted into hospitals across Lincolnshire.

Anyone visiting a relative will be asked if they have had any symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting in the past 72 hours, and will not be permitted to visit if they have.

Visiting restrictions will be enforced on a case-by-case basis, and where visitors are allowed, the number of visitors per patient should be strictly limited to a maximum of two at a time in all but exceptional circumstances.

No children will be permitted to enter medical wards during this outbreak.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust are still asking everyone who wants to visit a friend or relative in hospital to ring the ward at Lincoln before visiting. The ward will then advise whether it is appropriate to come to the hospital or not. Wards can be contacted via the hospital’s switchboard.

The norovirus 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.

Andrew Prydderch, deputy director of operations said: “We know that people feel that they must take every opportunity to visit their sick friends or relatives, particularly at this time of year.

“However if they have been unwell, they could be putting their loved ones and 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.