NIAGARA, ON.: An outbreak of Norovirus at the Niagara Health System Welland Site’s Woolcott Wing has been declared over, effective today.
The Norovirus outbreak was declared on the Woolcott Wing on December 19, 2011, and declared over this morning. An outbreak is declared over when there are no new cases and the number of cases has returned to the baseline level.
“Thank you to our staff, physicians and volunteers who worked as a team and went above and beyond to ensure patients received the best possible care while also managing the heightened infection prevention and control measures,” says Dr. Sue Matthews, Interim President and CEO of the Niagara Health System. “The increased measures were put in place quickly to control the spread of the Norovirus and bring the outbreak to an end as quickly as possible. I would also like to thank the public for its patience and understanding of the situation.”
Throughout the outbreak period, the NHS’s Infection Prevention and Control team worked closely with the larger NHS healthcare team as well as with Niagara Region Public Health.
Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause gastrointestinal illness. Symptoms are upset stomach, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, low grade fever, chills and a sore throat. The illness usually begins suddenly and the person may feel very sick. Symptoms last for 24 to 48 hours in a healthy individual, but it can take longer for some people.
Everyone is reminded to clean their hands regularly to decrease the chance of becoming ill. Norovirus is a seasonal illness, and there are also cases in the community.
Noroviruses can spread directly from person-to-person, by touching contaminated surfaces, from contaminated food, and other sources.
“Good hand hygiene continues to be the best defense to prevent the spread of this type of infection,” says Dr. Matthews. “We are all in this together, and it is essential that everyone practices good hand hygiene at all of our hospital sites.”