Lincoln County Hospital still in norovirus crisis, 18 days on

Eleven wards at Lincoln County Hospital are still affected by the winter vomiting bug known as norovirus, with visitors told to stay away in all but exceptional circumstances.

Visiting restrictions and ward closures have been in place since December 18, when a number of staff and patients began to show symptoms of the bug.

Seven wards are currently closed at Lincoln County Hospital, and four are restricted, despite United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust claiming towards the end of December that the situation was improving.

The Accident and Emergency department of the hospital remains open, however staff are “exceptionally busy” due to winter pressures and the ongoing bug.

To prevent the spread of the illness the number of people visiting the hospital has been capped. Anyone who has had symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting in the past 72 hours is not permitted access.

No children are being permitted to enter medical wards during the outbreak.

Restrictions are being enforced on a case-by-case basis and wards affected are ever-changing. Affected areas are only reopened again once patients have either been discharged and/or the area has been symptom-free for over 72 hours.

The norovirus is not an uncommon illness in winter. The stomach bug is highly contagious and can rapidly spread in busy places like hospitals.

Andrew Prydderch, deputy director of operations said: “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.