All wards have now been re-opened following a norovirus scare at South Tyneside Hospital.
But, while things are improving at the hospital in Harton Lane, South Shields, people are still being asked not to visit if they feel unwell. The virus is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK and hospital chiefs are asking people to ensure they are symptom-free for 48 hours before visiting relatives and friends.
Visiting is still being restricted to two visitors per patient and no children under the age of 14. Some beds still remain affected.
South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s Medical Director Dr Shaz Wahid said: “We are pleased that the situation appears to be improving and thank the public for their support. However, we still need anyone with symptoms of sickness or diarrhoea to stay away from the hospital to prevent any further spread of norovirus.
“Whilst it is a short-lived illness from which most people recover without treatment, we must do all we can to protect vulnerable patients. We know how important visiting is to patients, and their relatives, friends and carers, and we really appreciate the public helping us to protect patients. Our infection prevention and control team are working extremely hard to prevent transmission of the illness, including constantly monitoring all ward areas to ensure that appropriate measures are in place so that affected areas can be re-opened as quickly as possible.”
Norovirus is very infectious, is generally mild and most people make a full recovery within one to two days. The main symptom is vomiting, sometimes accompanied by diarrhoea. There is no specific treatment and the illness just has to run its course.
The outbreak comes at a time when the NHS in South Tyneside, as in the whole of the North East, has been under severe pressure following soaring A&E attendances in the aftermath of the recent extreme winter weather. People are urged to stay away from A&E unless seriously unwell or in need of critical or life-saving care.