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Story Posted: 2011-01-18

Number of Active Outbreak Patients Down

St. Paulís Hospital currently caring for nine norovirus patients;

no additional units declared as outbreaks

(January 17, 2011) Saskatoon Ė St. Paulís Hospital is currently caring for nine patients with norovirus or gastrointestinal illness - a decrease of nine patients since information was last provided on Friday, January 14. The hospital remains in a norovirus outbreak situation with a total number of cases now at 30 patients and 38 staff members. This is an increase of 15 identified cases over the weekend. The increase in staff cases is a combination of new cases and others that have been investigated over the past several days.

No additional units at St. Paulís have been included in the norovirus outbreak. Three units were declared as outbreaks and closed to visitors and admissions on January 5, January 11 and January 12. The end of an outbreak may be declared by the infection control officer once 96 hours has passed since the last patient or staff member exhibited norovirus symptoms.

The hospital nursing units remain closed to visitors and the community until further notice, except for scheduled appointments, emergencies or family members approved to visit a terminally or critically ill patient. Staff, volunteers, physicians and students are permitted to enter St. Paulís Hospital but will be asked for employee identification upon arrival.

Norovirus is a contagious gastrointestinal illness common during winter and spring, transmitted fecally-orally through contamination of food, water or surfaces. Norovirus usually results in diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and discomfort.

Community members are reminded that norovirus is very easily transmitted through contaminated surfaces, food or water. Individuals can help stop the spread of norovirus by practicing excellent hand hygiene and staying at home if you are ill with symptoms. If you have questions or concerns, you are asked to contact your care provider or the provincial HealthLine at 1-877-800-0002.

Saskatoon Health Region asks the community to use hospital emergency departments for true emergencies only such as sudden chest pain, difficulty breathing, sudden shortness of breath or sudden and severe headache. Norovirus does not require emergency treatment and suspected cases should be cared for at home to prevent further spread in the community.

For more information on the norovirus outbreak, please visit www.saskatoonhealthregion.ca.

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