Hospital ‘completely free’ of norovirus after bug outbreak

Hemel Hempstead Hospital
Hemel Hempstead Hospital
  • Health bosses confirm Hemel Hempstead Hospital’s Churchill Ward is now norovirus-free
  • ‘Winter vomiting bug’ had struck among elderly patients just weeks ago
  • Virus is UK’s most common stomach bug and is often prevalent in winter

The Trust behind Hemel Hempstead Hospital has confirmed the facility is now ‘completely free’ of the winter vomiting bug norovirus, after a recent outbreak.

The virus had spread among the town hospital’s Churchill Ward, for elderly patients awaiting placement in a care home, at the end of February.

Precautions to contain the bug were being reviewed on a daily basis, but health bosses have now assured patients and visitors that the ward and wider hospital is now fully operational.

For a period of time the 28-bed ward was put into isolation, with infected elderly patients treated in side rooms. At one point new admissions and visitors were banned from entering the site.

At the time of the outbreak, chief nurse at the West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust Professor Tracey Carter had said: “Norovirus is extremely common at this time of year and we have well-tested plans in place to help avoid it spreading in our hospitals. This includes closing wards to new admissions, isolating patients who are showing symptoms and ensuring patients regularly wash their hands.

“Local people have a key role to play too. We ask them not to visit our hospitals if they are showing the signs and symptoms of norovirus. Although having norovirus can be unpleasant, it’s not usually dangerous and most people make a full recovery within a couple of days without having to see their GP.”

Norovirus is the UK’s most common stomach bug and is easily spread, as the virus can survive for several days on surfaces or objects touched by an infected person.

For more information about norovirus, including how it can be prevented, visit www.nhs.uk/norovirus or call NHS 111.

Regularly washing hands can help keep norovirus at bay.

Regularly washing hands can help keep norovirus at bay.

Norovirus is extremely common at this time of year and we have well-tested plans in place to help avoid it spreading in our hospitals

Professor Tracey Carter
Norovirus.

Norovirus.