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Palmerston North Hospital Gastro: Movements restricted at older people’s ward as gastro outbreak hits

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A gastroenteritis outbreak at the Palmerston North Regional Hospital’s elderly ward has significantly restricted movement in and out of the unit, with visitor access limited.

Admissions into the hospital’s Older People’s Acute Assessment and Liaison (OPAL) Unit initially closed on Friday and all transfers to other wards, or discharges to residential care facilities were stopped until further notice.

In the latest update today, Te Whatu Ora said movements were being restricted in and out of the OPAL Unit due to the confirmed gastro outbreak.

“Patients are able to be discharged home. Visitors to the ward are allowed, at the discretion of the unit Charge Nurse or Associate Charge Nurse, on a case-by-case basis,” the hospital wrote in a Facebook post on Friday.

Visitor access continues to be limited at nurse discretion and the situation is being reviewed regularly.

Gastro symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pains and feeling nauseous.

“It is important to not visit rest homes, hospitals or attend school or early child education centres until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped,” Te Whatu Ora said.

To minimise the spread of gastro:

  • If you, or somebody you are caring for, is extremely unwell and you feel you need to take them to the doctor, call Healthline 0800 611 116 for medical advice. If you are advised to go to the doctor or hospital, ring ahead to advise them.
  • Wash and dry hands regularly when caring for sick people, before preparing food and after using the toilet.
  • Anyone with symptoms of gastro should avoid contact with others.

It comes after more than 50 people contracted the gastro bug cryptosporidium during an outbreak in Queenstown in September.

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