Areas of Cranford Hospice have been isolated to prevent the spread of the norovirus vomiting and diarrhoea bug. Photo / File

A norovirus bug, which has already affected Hawke’s Bay Hospital, is now suspected to have struck patients and staff at Cranford Hospice in Hastings.

After advice from the Public Health Unit, strict infection controls have been put in place at Cranford Hospice to prevent the spread of a highly contagious vomiting and diarrhoea bug.

Chief executive Janice Byford-Jones said admissions, discharges and visitor movements were being managed by senior clinical staff.

“Visitors are being asked to stay away to reduce the spread,” she said.

“If you are unwell with vomiting and diarrhoea or have been around people who have been unwell – please do not visit the hospice for at least 48 hours. Obviously, the patients at hospice are particularly vulnerable.”

Areas of the hospice had been isolated to help prevent the spread of the bug, and she asked that people be mindful of good hand hygiene.

A high presence of norovirus and other diarrhoea and vomiting bugs in Hawke’s Bay had put pressure on Hawke’s Bay Hospital, especially the emergency department, during October.

The issue was brought up at the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s monthly meeting yesterday, where chief executive Kevin Snee noted that the situation had meant the ED had failed to meet Ministry of Health targets for patient flow, which he described as “sub-optimal”.

He noted that the situation began to improve near the end of the month, and that other factors had contributed, but nurses and other medical staff coming down with norovirus had proved challenging.

In the middle of last month strict infection control measures were put in place after a norovirus outbreak affected about seven patients and 30 hospital staff.

Chief medical officer Dr John Gommans said the ED had had to be closed at one point, with patients instead seen in a medical ward.

One end of the assessment and rehabilitation unit also closed for a time.

The situation had required senior staff to step in and take on extra shifts, but things were beginning to improve, Dr Gommans said, although he warned people not to visit patients at hospital if they had diarrhoea or vomiting.

He advised people to remember to wash their hands with soap and warm water, and dry them thoroughly to help prevent spreading the bug.

Source: NZ Herald

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