Enteric outbreak declared on medical/surgical unit at Northumberland Hills Hospital in Cobourg

An enteric outbreak has been declared at Cobourg's Northumberland Hills Hospital.
An enteric outbreak has been declared at Cobourg's Northumberland Hills Hospital. Global News Peterborough file

Visitor restrictions are in place after an enteric outbreak was declared on a medical/surgical unit at Northumberland Hills Hospital in Cobourg on Wednesday.

The hospital reports a cluster of patients with symptoms of enteric infection have been identified on the 2A medical/surgical unit. Typical symptoms include diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, stomach cramps, fever, general irritability, malaise and headache.

Read more: Coronavirus, the flu or the common cold? Here’s what to know

The hospital says it is working closely with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit to restrict further spread and to communicate information.

All identified patients have been isolated and are being care for with appropriate contact precautions.

Other control measures include:

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  • Appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is required.
  • New admissions to the affected unit will be restricted – Admissions will be limited to beds that are not in close proximity to the patients exhibiting symptoms and staff will be cohorted as needed; patient transfers to and from other units will be postponed for the time being.
  • Strict adherence to thorough hand hygiene practices
  • Visitor restrictions to 2A: Special exceptions evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Visiting is not currently affected in other parts of the hospital, outside the requirements of the COVID-19 visitor policy.
  • Enhanced environmental cleaning: Increased cleaning of the unit and increased cleaning of equipment shared between patient rooms has been implemented.
  • Monitoring: Any patient who develops new onset of any of nausea, diarrhea and vomiting symptoms will be placed on contact precautions.
  • Proactive communication: Public notices have been placed on all appropriate hospital entrances as well as to the doorways within/leading to 2A to promote awareness, with reminders regarding hand hygiene requirements.

“NHH remains fully operational, with programs and services across the hospital operating as normal,” the hospital stated.

“Please be diligent in practicing appropriate hand hygiene and infection prevention and control practices when visiting the hospital at any time. Frequent hand washing, particularly before and after patient contact, is mandatory and vital to reducing health care associated infections.”