VISITING at two Cheshire West hospitals is to resume after the decision was made to temporarily pause visits earlier this month due to increased cases of norovirus.

On December 6, the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust advised that visiting for all adult acute inpatient areas of the Countess of Chester Hospital and all of Ellesmere Port Hospital would be prohibited until the spread of the virus could be brought under control.

The two hospitals had seen and increase in the number of patients admitted with norovirus, at one point treating 13 people across the two sites.

These restrictions did not apply to critical care units and wards and areas in the Women and Children’s Building, where visiting continued as normal.

However, the Trust says that these measures have been successful in preventing a further rise in infections and those with friends and family in the affected wards would once again be able to visit.

Sue Pemberton, Acting Director of Nursing and Quality and Acting Assistant Chief Executive Officer, said: "We have been reviewing the norovirus situation at our Countess of Chester and Ellesmere Port hospitals on a daily basis since we paused most visiting to keep our most vulnerable patients safe.

"This was a not a decision we took lightly, however it has had the desired effect of preventing the spread of norovirus and we are pleased to update that the virus is no longer impacting our patients and visiting will now resume as normal. We know it has been difficult for relatives to be apart from their loved ones over these last two weeks and are grateful to those who have been unable to visit for their patience and understanding.

"Whilst normal visiting has resumed, norovirus is a seasonal illness that we must be mindful of and so we ask that the public to continue to help keep our patients safe – please avoid visiting you are feeling unwell and if you are visiting please be aware that norovirus can spread in non-symptomatic people and use the hand sanitisers that are on our wards."