There is an increased incidence of norovirus cases in our community, and Children’s is caring for more patients with this contagious gastrointestinal illness. Out of an abundance of caution and in an effort to limit spread, all inpatient areas, with the exception of NICU, are required to implement contact/droplet precautions. The following precautions and actions are required, effective immediately:
- GOWN & GLOVE: All staff members must wear a gown and gloves when entering a patient room. Gowns should be discarded and not reused in rooms.
- MASKS: Change ear loop masks when you leave the room.
- HANDWASHING: All staff members must wash their hands with soap and water when entering a room and when leaving a room. This is the best way to prevent the spread of infection.
- SANITIZER DOES NOT KILL VIRUS: Do not use hand sanitizer (which does not kill the virus) before entering rooms and after leaving rooms. Hand sanitizer can be used by staff once they are in the room before in-room clinical activities, such as suctioning.
- CLEANING: High-touch surfaces in the patient room must be wiped down with increased frequency using bleach wipes. Clean all common areas and patient care areas on the unit with bleach wipes (e.g. nursing stations, keyboards and mice, playrooms, break rooms).
- MOVEMENT: Restrict off-unit therapies and testing as much as possible. Limit movement outside the room to what is medically necessary.
Norovirus brings an abrupt onset of vomiting, watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps and nausea. Acute diarrhea without vomiting may also occur. Symptoms last from 24 to 60 hours. Elderly, young and hospitalized patients may have an extended course of illness. Transmission may occur via fecal-oral-vomitus routes. Viral shedding starts before the onset of symptoms and peaks several days after exposure. Incubation is 12 to 48 hours.
Self-Monitor for Symptoms
Please continue to monitor for symptoms prior to coming to work just as we have for the last year with COVID-19. Pay close attention to symptoms of gastrointestinal illness, such as stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If you have any symptoms, please do not come to work! Please let your supervisor know if you have gastrointestinal symptoms. Please do not return to work until your symptoms have been completely gone for 48 hours.
Thank you for your caution and vigilance in preventing the spread of gastrointestinal illness and keeping our patients, families and team healthy. Please page Infection Prevention through the hospital operator with any questions.