Clearfield Hospital Changes Visitation Policy Due to Norovirus Illness in Region

CLEARFIELD – Due to the presence of norovirus illness in the region, Clearfield Hospital has placed restrictions on visitors to the hospital, effective immediately and continuing until further notice.

To reduce the transmission of the virus, hospital personnel have been advised to allow no more than two visitors per patient room, according to Infection Control Manager Nanette Frank, BSN.

Visitors under the age of 16 will not be allowed in the hospital. Visitors who have or have had symptoms of nausea, vomiting or diarrhea are asked not to visit patients at this time.

These restrictions are placed on visitors to the hospital, not people seeking medical treatment for symptoms.

Frank said while there have been no confirmed cases of norovirus illness at Clearfield Hospital as of yesterday, the hospital decided to be proactive due to the presence of the virus in surrounding communities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause the “stomach flu,” or gastroenteritis in people. Noroviruses are very contagious and can spread easily from person to person or through environmental surface contact. This “stomach flu” is not related to the flu (or influenza), which is a respiratory illness caused by influenza virus.

The symptoms of norovirus illness usually include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping. Sometimes people have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and a general sense of tiredness. One of the major complications of the illness is dehydration.

The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. Symptoms usually last for about one or two days. In general, children experience more vomiting than adults. Most people with norovirus illness have both of these symptoms.

People can become infected with the virus in several ways, including:
• eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus;
• touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus, and then placing their hand in their mouth;
• having direct contact with another person who is infected and showing symptoms.

People can decrease their chances of contracting noroviruses through frequent hand washing; thorough cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces by using a bleach-based household cleaner; washing fruits and vegetables; and washing clothing or linens that may be contaminated with the virus after an episode of illness.

For more information, log on to the CDC Web site, or contact Frank at 765-5341.

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