COVID-19 and norovirus cases prompt Dublin Hospital to implement rigorous visitor guidelines


Tallaght Hospital, tags: dublin covid-19 norovirus - CC BY-SA

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 and norovirus outbreaks, a hospital in Dublin has imposed strict visitor restrictions. The affected medical facility, Tallaght Hospital, announced that all visits to patients had been paused to safeguard their health. This decision was made due to the prevalence of both COVID-19 and norovirus within the hospital and the community.

A hospital spokesperson stated, “We would like to remind you that all visits to patients have been suspended in the interest of patient safety.”

Tallaght Hospital has issued a statement indicating that no visiting is allowed except by prior arrangement with a patient’s medical team in cases of end-of-life or critical illness. This policy applies to all areas on the hospital campus, including inside and outside the hospital, as well as the car park.

The arrival of a new COVID variant, FLiRT, has complicated the situation. This variant is linked to the JN family of variants and currently accounts for approximately one-third of COVID-19 cases in Ireland.

Virologists have coined the term FLiRT to refer to a group of related strains: KP.2, KP.3, JN.1.7, JN.1.1, and KP.1.1. These subtypes are all derived from the JN.1 lineage, known as Juno, which has been the predominant strain in Ireland for the past few months.

While health officials are still evaluating its potential severity, no evidence suggests it poses a greater risk than previous mutations. However, those in vulnerable groups should remain cautious as they are at higher risk from both the new COVID-19 variant and norovirus.

The FLiRT COVID-19 mutation brings about symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, breathing difficulty, exhaustion, muscle pain, headache, altered taste or smell, sore throat, nasal congestion, nausea, diarrhea, and dizziness. It is essential for individuals exhibiting any of these symptoms to get tested and adhere to public health guidelines.

The hospital has established a Patient Care Package service, allowing families to drop off care packages for their loved ones at the main reception between 2 pm and 4 pm daily. This service enables families to provide essential items for their loved ones while minimizing the risk of illness exposure. Those who can’t visit family members during designated hours are advised to approach the main reception for contact information.

Safety protocols amid a surge in FLiRT cases

Healthcare professionals worldwide have reported a surge in FLiRT cases, raising concerns about its transmissibility and ability to evade prior immunity. The HSE advises those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, including the new variant, to stay at home for 48 hours after their symptoms have subsided before coming into contact with others.

Health authorities underline the significance of preventive methods, such as vaccinations, wearing masks, and maintaining a safe distance to shield oneself from both COVID-19 and norovirus.

Tallaght Hospital urges everyone to remain vigilant and follow public health guidelines during this challenging time. With the increase of COVID-19 and norovirus cases, it is essential to prioritize the health and safety of patients, staff, and visitors.

The hospital’s decision to restrict visits is a proactive measure aimed at protecting the well-being of all those involved. This approach is in line with the recommendations of public health officials and aligns with best practices being adopted by healthcare facilities around the world.

To ensure the safety and well-being of patients, staff, and visitors at Tallaght Hospital, as well as the broader Dublin community, it is imperative that all individuals strictly adhere to public health guidelines and prioritize their well-being and that of those around them during these times.

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