A SICKNESS bug has halted new admissions at two hospitals.
Three wards have been affected between the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.
Both sites are run by the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, and while all of the affected wards are still operational, no new admissions are being taken in an attempt to stop the bug from spreading.
Patients who are suffering from the bug, which has caused sickness and diarrhoea, will not be transferred to any other wards within either of the hospitals and are being closely monitored by staff.
Once all of the patients are deemed to have been free of the bug for 48 hours, then the wards will be sterilised and brought back into full use.
Cath Siddle, director of nursing, quality and patient safety for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Three beds on three wards across the University Hospital of North Tees and the University Hospital of Hartlepool are currently closed to admissions due to diarrhoea and vomiting.
“Each of the wards has patients in them but we will not admit new patients onto the affected areas until they are reopened on advice from our infection prevention and control team.
“Patients from these areas affected will not be transferred to reduce the risk of spread of the infection to other patients, wards or nursing homes.
“Once the patients have been free of symptoms for 48 hours the ward is fully cleaned and reopened to function as normal.”
The health trust has assured patients that bugs such as this one are “normal” in the winter months, but have asked any visitors who have been feeling unwell to stay away from both of the hospitals.
She added: “This is a normal occurrence in winter and while the situation can quickly improve we would like to remind people that if you have the highly infectious winter vomiting and diarrhoea bug/norovirus, you must avoid visiting hospital if you have had the typical symptoms of the bug in the past 48 hours.
“It is our priority to keep our patients safe, and so it is vital that people do everything they possibly can to avoid bringing infection into our hospitals.”