Hospital beds closed as 20 Norovirus cases recorded in Sheffield

An increase in Norovirus cases in Sheffield has resulted in people planning to visit relatives and friends at hospital being told to stay away if they are feeling unwell.

Thursday, 31st March 2016, 3:43 pm
The Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

Hospital bosses have said there has been an increase in Norovirus cases this week, with 20 recorded.

The outbreak has resulted in the closure of a number of bed bays to reduce the spread of infection.

In a bid to contain the problem, people are being asked not to visit hospital if they feel unwell or have had any symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting or ‘flu like’ symptoms in the previous 72 hours.

Professor Hilary Chapman, chief nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We expect to have peaks and troughs in the number of cases of Norovirus that we see at this time of year and we have good plans in place for infection control. However we also know that it is very easy for people to bring the infection in with them and often people will visit relatives or friends while they have Norovirus or other illnesses like flu themselves. This increases the risk to patients and also means we often have to shut whole wards or bays of beds in order to deep clean areas after an infection has occurred to prevent further spread of the bug, This in turn means we then have less beds available for patients who need to be admitted.”

Dr Christine Bates, director of infection prevention and control, said: “Although we have very good infection prevention and control measures within the hospital, it’s important that we take every opportunity to reduce any potential risk to patients and staff.”