Media Release: Visiting Restrictions Tightened at UHL over Norovirus

Visiting restrictions have been tightened at University Hospital Limerick following an outbreak of the norovirus (winter vomiting bug).

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Until further notice, it is necessary to impose a ban on all visitors except to those visiting the Intensive Care Unit, High Dependency Unit, Coronary Care Unit and paediatric patients. In the locations exempt from the outright visiting ban, it is necessary to restrict visits to one person per patient only and to remind members of the public that visiting hours of 2pm to 4pm and 6pm to 9pm are to be strictly adhered to. Members of the public are reminded not to bring children on visits anywhere in the hospital.

We regret any inconvenience caused to patients or their loved ones at this time but these restrictions are necessary in the interests of patient care as UHL manages a significant outbreak of norovirus. There are currently 10 symptomatic patients on Ward 3A, three symptomatic patients on Ward 3D and four symptomatic patients awaiting admission from the Emergency Department, all of whom are in isolation.

All infection control measures are in place and every effort is being made to manage and contain the spread of the virus. Patients are being isolated and cohorted as appropriate and a number of beds have been closed to admissions in accordance with IP&C protocols. This is expected to impact on  bed capacity over the coming days as the situation is managed.

Members of the public are advised that norovirus is currently circulating in the community and therefore members of the public should not visit anyone in hospital if they themselves are unwell. Symptoms include vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea. This is important as there have been previous outbreaks secondary to vomiting episodes by visitors on the hospital wards.

People with symptoms are advised to contact their GP by phone in the first instance and avoid presenting at the Emergency Department at UHL.

UHL has been experiencing a high number of patients attending the ED in recent days.  We have admitted a lot of seriously ill patients recently, many of who remain in the ED awaiting a bed.

We are asking people to think about all their care and treatment options and keep ED services for the patients who need them most.  For example, many patients with limb injuries can go to an Injury Unit in Ennis, Nenagh or St John’s Hospital.  Injury Units are open in Ennis and Nenagh Hospitals from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Sunday and 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday at St. John's Hospital.  Others with a less serious illness can be treated by their GP or out of hours GP service where their GP can refer them to an Assessment Unit the following day if required.

However, if you are seriously injured or ill or are worried your life is at risk the ED will assess and treat you as a priority.

For further information on Norovirus and its management please refer to the Irish Health Protection Surveillance Centre Norovirus Factsheet.

Last updated on: 12 / 04 / 2018