Hospital restricting visitors on three of its medical units

Guelph Gen­eral Hospital is currently ex­periencing an outbreak of a gas­trointestinal virus on its 4 West medical unit.

In addition, it is already deal­ing with an ongoing chal­lenge with VRE in two other medical units. (Naturally found in the bowels of humans, VRE is a bacteria that has become resistant to an antibiotic called Vancomycin).

As a precautionary measure and until further notice, all hos­pital visiting to those three units, 4 East, 4 West, and 7 East, will be strictly limited to those visiting critically ill or palliative patients.

Family and friends are encouraged to con­tact patients by telephone in­stead, or email them through the hospital’s web site at www.­

Those planning to visit should first call ahead to the patient care unit to see if they will be permitted to visit.

“We need to be aggressive in our infection control prac­tices to get on top of this,” said Eileen Bain, vice president of patient care and chief nursing executive.

“We’ve learned from the experiences of both hos­pitals in Kitchener that strong measures are needed.

“We know this places a hardship on our patients and their fam­ilies and for that we’re very sorry.”

On advice from Public Health, in addition to the visit­ing restriction in the three units, the hospital is telling all child­ren under the age of 12 to stay away.

“In all restrictions, excep­tions will be made for critically ill or palliative patients,” Bain said.

It is also important that anyone plan­ning to visit the hospital who has un­explained symp­toms such as diarrhea or vom­iting should stay away and call instead.

In addition to visitor re­stric­tions, the hospital has im­ple­mented a variety of infec­tion con­trol practices including en­hanced environmental clean­ing, contact precautions, with all patients in affected units and routine screening of all ad­missions.

“We’re working closely with Public Health officials, the Waterloo Wellington In­fection Control Network and our com­munity partners on measures to maintain patient services on the patient care units,” Bain said.

“In addition to limiting move­ment to and from the units, ex­tra nursing staff, house­keeping and support staff have been put in place,” she added

The gastrointestinal out­break coincides with an in­creased incidence of the virus in the community at large. The Norovirus is a common virus that causes diarrhea and vom­iting in humans. The best way to prevent spread of the con­tagious virus is with thorough hand washing. The small virus­es are hard to detect and are commonly responsible for out­breaks in places where people are in close proximity to each other.

Symptoms usually appear within two days of being exposed to just a few of the viruses.

There is a sudden onset with illness lasting one to two days. Recovery is usually com­plete with no serious long-term consequences.