ADMISSIONS have been suspended to two wards at Wrexham Maelor Hospital following a possible further outbreak of the norovirus.
Admissions to Cunliffe and Erddig wards have been suspended after a number of patients developed symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting.
Although laboratory tests have not confirmed that the norovirus is responsible, the hospital is putting infection control measures in place to limit the spread of any outbreak and health board chiefs are urging members of the public to help keep the virus out of its hospitals.
Consultant microbiologist Dr Chris Cefai said: “We know that norovirus is circulating in the community at the moment. It is therefore really important that people don’t unwittingly bring the bug into hospital.
“The most important rule is not to come visiting patients in hospital if you have had symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting in the last 48 hours.
“And if you have had these symptoms and are due to come in as a patient, give us a ring first for advice and so we can make appropriate preparations.
“If you are going to visit a relative or friend on an affected ward then please follow the advice of ward staff and any instruction notices.
“Make sure you wash hands before you enter patient areas and also when you leave.
“That will help make sure you don’t take a bug home with you.
“Also, please don’t bring children visiting to affected wards - we all know young children like to explore with their hands but this puts them at a higher risk of picking up an infection and of then spreading it around.”
The latest bug warning follows the closure of several wards at the hospital due to the norovirus over the Christmas period.
It also comes as the Maelor faces increased pressure for beds.
On Tuesday, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) announced the hospital was one of three in North Wales where all non-emergency operations had been cancelled this week.
In a statement, BCHUB claimed increased pressure for urgent care had placed an added strain on the system.
They said many patients were elderly and frail. They were having to stay in hospital longer, increasing pressure on hospital beds.
Campaigners say the situation has not been helped by a reduction of community hospital beds through the closure of smaller hospitals, including Flint and Llangollen.
Yesterday Buckley councillor Carol Ellis, who chairs Flintshire Council’s social and health care overview scrutiny committee, described the suspension of operations as “very worrying”.
She said: “Most people are going to say it is down to a shortage of beds and this goes back to the loss of the community beds.
“From day one this was said when the so-called consultations took place and people have been proved right every step of the way.
“It’s ghastly really. They seem to be going from one crisis to another.”
There have also been reports of ambulance tailbacks at the hospital’s emergency unit, with 999 vehicles seen queuing there on Tuesday.