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Stomach virus tally hits 28

A total of 28 people have now been affected by a Norwalk-like illness in two units at St. Paul’s Hospital.

The most recent cases were identified Saturday, giving hospital officials reason to think they’ve contained the bug that causes sudden onset vomiting and diarrhea.

“There haven’t been new cases for a few days and we do feel its under control,” said Karen Levesque, director of acute medicine and complex care with the Saskatoon Health Region.

The lab hasn’t confirmed norovirus as the cause of the outbreak but all the symptoms are consistent with it, said Donna Wiens, director of infection prevention and control.

“It’s a viral illness spread by those viruses that are exploded during vomiting and diarrhea and people within short distances can be affected by those viruses,” Wiens said.

Symptoms normally last 12 to 24 hours.

Five workers and 23 patients two units – Surgery 5B and fifth-floor medicine – have been closed to admissions, transfers and visitors since Friday.

“We’re trying to contain further spread of the illness by restricting access to the units by visitors and by limiting the transfer of staff between the affected and other units,” Levesque said.

“We also are encouraging very stringent hand hygiene. We hope these measures will help us contain the virus. We ask for the public’s understanding to not visit these units and for everyone to properly clean their hands at all times where ever they are.”