Virus hits section of Hilo hospital
The wing is closed to new patients, but visitors are allowed
HILO » A section of Hilo Medical Center has been quarantined for about a week due to an outbreak of norovirus, which can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea but is not generally fatal, a hospital spokeswoman said.
About three staff members and six or seven patients in the 30-bed section have gotten sick, the spokeswoman, Elena Cabatu, said yesterday. The symptoms generally last one or two days, and there is no medicine that can be used against it, she said.
She added that norovirus is common and that many people have had it at some time or other in their life.
Precautions include frequent and careful hand-washing. The origin is often shellfish and seafood, she said.
The quarantine means that no new patients are being placed in the wing, but it does not mean that hospital staff and others are barred from entering and leaving, Cabatu said. "You may enter at your own risk," she said.
Hospital staff working in the wing enter at the beginning of the shift and do not leave the wing until the end of their shift.
Visitors also are allowed into the wing but are advised not to touch patients and to wash their hands before leaving.
The affected area is the south wing of the long-term care facility, which is in a separate building from the main hospital.
Cabatu said the outbreak is under control.