Norovirus suspends visits in medical unit of hospital in Kent County

Norovirus suspends visits in medical unit of hospital in Kent County

A norovirus outbreak has resulted in visits to the medical unit in the Stella-Maris-de-Kent Hospital being temporarily suspended by the hospital's administration.

The visiting ban at the facility in Sainte-Anne-de-Kent will remain in effect until further notice, the hospital's administration said in a news release.

People with the illness's symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea are asked not to come to the hospital to visit inpatients in other units until the symptoms have disappeared.

On March 17 an outbreak of the stomach virus was reported on some units on the fourth floor of the Chaleur Regional Hospital in Bathurst, leading to visiting restrictions.

On Tuesday, the office of the chief medical officer of health issued an advisory that norovirus was circulating in the province.

Cases of norovirus have been confirmed in long-term care facilities, schools, daycares and special care homes, the advisory said.

Symptoms of norovirus usually appear suddenly, within 24 to 48 hours after a person becomes infected. Symptoms typically last between eight and 12 hours with people normally recovering in 48 hours.

There were 25 norovirus outbreaks in the province in 2015 and seven outbreaks in 2016. However, public health officials say the number of actual outbreaks can be higher than the official count because of difficulties confirming cases after symptoms have passed.

An outbreak is an instance of two or more confirmed cases in a setting such as a hospital or school.