Six wards are now closed at York Hospital after an outbreak of the Norovirus. The first cases of the so-called winter vomiting bug were found at the hospital almost three weeks ago, but experts say they believe the outbreak is now at it's peak.
Some operations have also been cancelled, and people have been asked to stay away from the hospital unless it is absolutely necessary to visit.
Chief Nurse Libby McManus told ITV News "It's really tough in the hospital. We have had to open extra beds wherever we can in areas which have previously been empty. Staff are also thin on the ground because some of them have also come down with the bug."
It's been a particularly tough two or three weeks in the run up to this, but looking at the pattern, we think this is at it's peak and we're just waiting for it to clear now.
– Libby McManus, York Teching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Ten wards have been closed and operations postponed after York Hospital was put on “red alert” due to a virulent stomach bug hiting the complex.
Health bosses admitted that the hospital was struggling to cope under the pressure of the outbreak, and had triggered its 'red alert status' as the vomiting bug spread to ten wards at the Wigginton Road site.
Mandy McGale, director of operations for York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Red alert status means that the hospital is under significant operational pressure which triggers our contingency plans to be initiated.
“This includes redeploying staff when necessary and rescheduling non-urgent planned procedures and operations. "
Winter vomiting bug has resulted in the closure of one ward to new admissions at York Hospital and the partial closure of another.
Hospital bosses are now calling for people to take extra precautions when visiting relatives. The outbreak is the second in as many months at Wigginton Road.
Libby McManus, chief nurse, said: “We are specifically asking people who have been unwell not to visit the hospital until they have been free of symptoms for 48 hours. This is really important because the virus is highly infectious.
“The virus is easily spread by contact with an infected person, especially through their hands, although the risk is reduced over time.”