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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Norovirus at the Cumberland Infirmary update

Norovirus at the Cumberland Infirmary update

Posted on Monday 26th January 2015
cumberland infirmary

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust would like to thank the community for their help in trying to minimise the impact of an ongoing norovirus outbreak at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle. 

The number of patients affected by the virus in the hospital remains high today and it is continuing to circulate widely in the community.

In order to reduce the spread of infection, the Trust has postponed all non-urgent operations this week as well as continuing to appeal to anyone planning to visit its hospitals to stay at home if they or their family members have had diarrhoea, vomiting or ‘flu-like’ symptoms in the last two days.

All non-essential visitors are asked to please stay away from hospital wards with visitors being limited to strictly two visitors per bed and next of kin only. In addition, children are still being asked not to visit any of the wards until further notice. If you would like to bring a child to visit a relative, please contact the ward before coming in.

These decisions and requests are designed to keep norovirus, also known as the winter vomiting bug, out of hospital and away from vulnerable patients and staff who could pass it on. Symptoms of norovirus include diarrhoea and vomiting and, just like flu, the virus can seriously affect vulnerable patients. Norovirus is highly contagious and can spread rapidly anywhere that people are gathered, such as schools or offices, especially during colder months. 

The Trust is also asking patients to kindly minimise, where possible, their movement around the hospital to places such as the shop and restaurant until further notice. 

Dr Jeremy Rushmer, medical director at the Trust, said: “Unfortunately we have had to take the decision to postpone all non-urgent operations at the Cumberland Infirmary this week. We apologise to our patients and we have contacted all those affected by this individually. We will endeavour to reschedule their operation as soon as we can.

“It is important that we reduce the spread of norovirus as soon as possible in order to protect our vulnerable patients and ensure there are beds available for emergency admissions coming into the hospital.

“I would like to thank the community who have taken on board our request to limit visitors and avoid bringing children into the hospital to visit and I would ask them to continue to follow that guidance this week.

“Any next of kin who still feels they need to visit is asked to follow strict hand washing guidance and to ask staff on the ward if unsure of how to minimise the risk of infection.

“If you have had norovirus yourself, please stay away until you have been symptom-free for at least two days. If you are worried about prolonged symptoms, you can ring 111, or your GP. They will be able to provide advice for people who are at greater risk from dehydration from diarrhoea and vomiting, such as children under the age of five or the elderly.

“Please remember our Accident & Emergency department should only be used for life-threatening emergencies such as people suffering heart attacks, strokes and breathing problems.”