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.gghorg.ca.
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.