More wards shut down as norovirus outbreak escalates at Lincoln hospital

Visitors to Lincoln County Hospital are being advised to stay away in all but exceptional circumstances, as the hospital manages an “extensive outbreak” of norovirus.

A large number of medical wards at the hospital are currently closed or restricting admissions due to ongoing cases of the winter vomiting bug.

The hospital has also said that those suffering from the bug are taking longer than expected to recover, often due to their frail nature.

The wards have been restricted as a precaution to prevent the spread of the virus.

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.

Due to the serious nature of the outbreak, restrictions are being placed on the number of visitors permitted into the hospitals.

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.

Dr Suneil Kapadia, medical director of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We have seen a high number of wards affected by this outbreak of norovirus, with a number of patients being admitted into hospital with the virus.

“Exceptionally, we have also seen that those suffering from norovirus have taken longer than we would usually expect to recover, often due to the frail nature of these patients.

“We are taking the action to restrict hospital visiting in order to limit the spread of the virus and to protect our vulnerable patients.

“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.”