Manawatu Standard

Sick babies, tummy bug stress wards

- Janine Rankin

Palmerston North Hospital is continuing to manage outbreaks of infectious respirator­y and tummy viruses, although the situation is not getting worse.

Each day, six to eight children are being admitted with RSV, the respirator­y syncytial virus, with the same number seen in the emergency department but not needing to be admitted.

Midcentral Health clinical executive for healthy women, children and youth Jeff Brown said the numbers were a significan­t increase on previous years.

‘‘The situation fluctuates day to day, but appears to be stable and is not worsening.’’

Restrictio­ns on visiting the children’s ward remained in place.

Norovirus prompted the closure of ward 24 to incoming patients on July 13, with four suspected and one confirmed case.

New patients were not being admitted.

There were no discharges going to aged residentia­l care facilities, and visiting was limited to one key caregiver a patient.

Midcentral Health nursing and midwifery executive director Celina Eves said no more cases had been confirmed.

Two staff members were still off work.

The situation would be reviewed again today to decide whether the ward could return to normal.

Another ward brought in extra infection prevention moves during the weekend to avoid the spread of the outbreak, but had since returned to normal.

To stop the spread of viruses, managers were asking people to stay home if they felt unwell with gastroente­ritis or respirator­y symptoms.

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