BURGAW -- Pender Memorial Hospital has imposed visitor restrictions after learning that three patients have tested positive for Norovirus. The restrictions will not impact most outpatient services.
Symptoms of Norovirus include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps and slight fever that may last for one to three days. A patient may not exhibit symptoms for one to two days after getting the virus, and the virus may still be transmitted for up to one to two weeks even after symptoms appear.
Because the illness spreads easily, the hospital is taking additional precautions recommended by the Center for Disease Control and UNC-Chapel Hill's Department of Hospital Epidemiology, according to a news release from the hospital. Pender Memorial also is working with the Pender County Health Department and the Department of Infection Control at New Hanover Regional Medical Center to prevent the disease from spreading.
- Limited visitation: Only one healthy family member will be allowed to visit a patient during the course of his or her stay.
- Visitors must check-in at the nurses' station before entering a patient room to make sure that appropriate levels of isolation precautions are followed such as masks, gowns and gloves.
- Visitors must wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20-30 seconds upon entering and exiting a patient room. Waterless hand gels are not effective against the Norovirus.
- Any items brought into a patient's room should be disposable. (i.e. food containers or flowers)
- Any patient exhibiting symptoms of the Norovirus, including fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or stomach cramps, will be in isolation for at least 48 hours after symptoms have subsided.
- Separate "sick" and "well" waiting areas are available at the hospital.
- Family members of patients at Pender Memorial Hospital are being contacted by hospital staff to inform them of these temporary limitations on visiting.
All patients with appointments at Pender Memorial Hospital for outpatient services, including lab testing, radiology procedures, physical, speech or occupational therapy, EKG, or outpatient surgery, will be seen as scheduled unless otherwise notified.
Individuals are encouraged to wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 to 30 seconds. Waterless hand gels are not effective against the Norovirus.
After a person has exhibited symptoms associated with Norovirus, it is good practice to clean the sick room thoroughly with a mild bleach solution and to wash linens and towel with bleach as well.
For updated information, visit www.pendermemorial.org.