Ward closed as Norovirus returns

While Covid-19 cases continue to fall in the Borders, another virus has raised its ugly head.

Dr Tim Patterson.
Dr Tim Patterson.

Ward 4 at the Borders General Hospital has been closed to admissions due to confirmed cases of norovirus.

All but essential visiting is currently suspended in the ward and the situation is being kept under review with restrictions to be eased as soon as it is safe to do so.

The general advice is to stay away from any hospital ward if you or anyone in your family has experienced symptoms of diarrhoea and/or vomiting in the past 48 hours.

Dr Tim Patterson, director of public health at NHS Borders, said: “Norovirus is one of the most common causes of diarrhoea and vomiting illness. It is very infectious and spreads quickly between people.

"This is why outbreaks happen in hospitals where a number of people are sharing facilities.

“However, it doesn’t just occur in hospitals and can start abruptly and spread quickly through communities. That is why it is vital to practice good hand hygiene and stay at home if you feel unwell.

“Action by patients, visitors and staff can help support us to deliver safe patient care and minimise the impact of a potential norovirus outbreak and we are asking visitors to comply with any instructions you are given by staff or signs that you see at the entrances to wards.

“This is vital to protect yourselves and your loved ones from catching this unpleasant virus, particularly as your friends or family members currently in hospital may be more vulnerable of the virus than usual."

Common symptoms of norovirus are diarrhoea and/or vomiting that lasts for 12 to 72 hours. Other symptoms can include headache, fever and muscle ache.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

While Norovirus, known as the winter vomiting bug, was a major worry for health boards a few years ago, there have been few cases reported since the onset of Covid.

New cases of Covid are continuing to fall across the country, however.

And in the Borders, there were 63 new cases reported yesterday, Wednesday, with a total of 430 in the last recorded seven-day period (June 18-24), however, it’s believed that the majority of these are of a less serious strain.

However, between April 20 and 26, there were two reported deaths of people who had contracted Covid in the last 28 days.